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some general advice: check your credit

barcher144 posted 12/4/2020 14:12 PM

Now that I am FINALLY getting to the point where my STBXW becomes only an XW... I am looking forward to embarking on my new life more or less.

One thing that concerned me was that my credit rating has dropped by 100+ points in the last 6 months or so. I didn't think much of it at the time because I had been opening new credit cards, attempting to take advantage of initial offers for no interest. I used these cards to cover my legal expenses primarily.

Today, I checked my credit report using a "free" credit-checking website. I found a major issue...

I was listed as an "authorized user" on one of STBXW's credit cards... and she had maxed it out... and so this was a major issue on my credit report.

When we separated, I had removed her as an authorized user on all of my credit cards... but I didn't think about the fact that I could have been an authorized user on one of her cards.

Just something to check...

lieshurt posted 12/4/2020 14:19 PM

I also recommend people make sure they assign a new medical POA. The last thing I needed was for my ex to be in charge of my medical decisions should I have become incapacitated while we were separated and the divorce was pending. He definitely would have pulled the plug on me.

TheLostOne2020 posted 12/4/2020 14:23 PM

Both of these are good pieces of advice. My credit is excellent and I'm going to need it to stay that way. I took her off my cards but I didn't think about whether I was listed on something of hers.

barcher144 posted 12/4/2020 14:34 PM

I guess one more thing that I have remembered to do... so I didn't include it in my original post...

Life Insurance. I currently have two life insurance policies, one that is essentially free to me (i.e., it's an extra benefit of my job) and the other one is one that I pay.

While my divorce is on-going, I am not allowed to change my insurance policies in any way. STBXW and her attorney forgot to require that I keep a life insurance policy with her as the beneficiary... so once my divorce is final, I need to go back and change my life insurance so that she is no longer the beneficiary.

The problem that I have, though, is that I don't know who to make the new beneficiary. I'd like the money to go to my kids, but I don't want to list them because the money would go to STBXW more or less if they are under 18.

Darkness Falls posted 12/4/2020 14:38 PM

I think you can set up a trust as the beneficiary, only accessible to your kids, but check with your lawyer to recommend an estate professional to be sure.

Ratpicker posted 12/4/2020 15:53 PM

Barcher - check with your life insurance company. Some won't allow you to simply list minors as beneficary- they want you to list a custodian for the minor's benefit account. And those that will allow it, won't pay out to a minor if still a minor when policy owner dies. This is apparently happening with the policy for my X who passed this summer. He named a grandson who is 6 for a good size chunk. Apparently the judge handling the probate will need to ok a custodian since he didn't name one. It will likely be the child's mother. But custodians are not allowed to remove money from the account, at least without court approval. Maybe your company will allow you to name a relative you trust to be the named custodian for your minor children?

I hope your understanding of your divorce outcome plays out the way you want. At the end of my trial the judge didn't verbally give much of decision. Each attorney wrote up their version and submitted as proposed decree. Judge could pick one or the other as written, make changes or rewrite completely. He chose the one my attorney wrote with just a couple of tweaks. It included naming me as the beneficiary of a $ amount of his life insurance, survivor beneficiary of 2 QRDO's and the military MPDO. None of which was specifically addressed in court. My state has no time limit for judges to rule like you said yours has. I waited 480 days for the judge to release the final and signed decree & 29 days later the X appealed to state Supreme Court.

[This message edited by Ratpicker at 3:55 PM, December 4th (Friday)]

J707 posted 12/5/2020 10:09 AM

I was able to close the credit card account as an authorized user. So my ex can't make additional purchases since its closed but she still owes the debt. It does show up on my report under the closed accounts section. Also, she is making payments on time.

Her credit is shot. She went and charged up a shit ton after our separation and divorce process, in her name only except the one mentioned above. She maxed out her cards and stopped paying them. I get phone calls, ask if my name is associated with it (it isn't) then kindly pass along any information they need to get ahold of her. Ain't my deal.

Ratpicker posted 12/5/2020 11:34 AM

Just remembered something - regarding credit checks and ex-spouses. To the degree that you can, keep a record of any addresses that were or could have been used by your former spouse.

My X was supposed to close any of the credit card accounts that had me as joint or authorized user. He wasn't real quick about it and changed the address on account before he closed some of them. There could have been legitimate reason for this. Since he traveled internationally for work, I could see why he would leave at least one open until he got card for new account. And perhaps to ensure last statement showing closure and zero balance was sent to him.

But... for the next few years when I tried to do a credit check on myself there was a snag. To get thru the process there are multiple choice questions used to confirm ID. It asked which of the following addresses I had previously lived. When I didn't furnish O'Whora's address (because I didn't remember it) it wouldn't let me get to my credit report. I had to dispute that address as having ever been mine. You have to know the address to dispute it. Ugh! Had to dig thru my copy of O'Whora's deposition to find the address from that era. That was the only record that I had.

Sometimes a glimpse of the former shit show pops up when you least expect it!

BearlyBreathing posted 12/5/2020 17:29 PM

T/j: OWhora. end of T/J

Great reminder!!

TheLostOne2020 posted 12/5/2020 18:10 PM

Whelp this was excellent advice. Apparently I'm still on her Amex card. I will be getting this taken care of shortly.

Outside of that card, I'm good.

barcher144 posted 12/6/2020 10:30 AM

Barcher - check with your life insurance company. Some won't allow you to simply list minors as beneficary- they want you to list a custodian for the minor's benefit account. And those that will allow it, won't pay out to a minor if still a minor when policy owner dies.

Yep, that's sort of my plan. I haven't done much of anything because I am still not divorced so I cannot do anything with any of my insurance policies for legal reasons.

I also need to find a custodian... that's not the easiest choice. My parents are older and I don't know if I want to put that on them. The other option is my sister... I'll have to talk to her.

barcher144 posted 12/6/2020 10:34 AM

To the degree that you can, keep a record of any addresses that were or could have been used by your former spouse.

I had a similar experience.

In order to remove myself from STBXW's credit card as an authorized user, I needed to know her address. She hadn't moved, so it was basically my old address.

Bigger posted 12/7/2020 05:47 AM

Slightly off-track but related to the subject:
I realized Im doing Dave Ramsey style finances years before I even heard of him. I agree with his POV on life-insurance.

I dont think its our responsibility as parents to leave our kids money. Its not my role to leave my kids a down-payment for a house or to enable them to spend 6 years in a cult finding themselves. We are responsible for their upbringing and IMHO if you can get your child through college with no student-loans you have done a good job.

Once divorced you need enough coverage to ensure costs for your kids are covered for the appropriate time. Do a rough calculation: CS for the kids until they are 18 + your share in college cost + a safety buffer. That will get you an amount. Subtract from that whatever assets might be available once you kick the bucket (like you wont need a home or vehicle or the bass-boat once deceased). That is the amount your estate needs to leave for your kids. Chances are that a debt-free house sold after you croak covers this cost.

Many policies increase significantly with age, and this calculation might enable you to lower the amount by adjusting the pay-out accordingly. Even better you might get Term Life and save considerable amounts money that in turn can be used to lower other debts and create assets.

Get an attorney to help you with a will outlining how to handle your estate and what the cash should be used for. Remember to update that will as you go along.

My wife and I did the above. We both had life-insurance while we were in debt and starting a family. We had the goal of the surviving spouse being able to pay off the mortgage and stay in the house on either salary (as opposed to combined), plus cost of funeral and loss of income for a year. We dropped the insurance the moment we could achieve this goal without it.

josiep posted 12/7/2020 08:35 AM

Barcher, Bigger makes excellent points. You might want to just do away with the life insurance policy that you pay for. If something happens to you, they'd get SS benefits (I assume your job is in the SS system) and inherit your assets so you needn't provide for their care beyond that.

It would be wise, however, to have someone to handle those funds. If your sister isn't comfortable doing it, I believe some of the brokerage houses take on the role of financial custodian. When money is wanted or needed, the kids guardian (presumably their mother) would have to request it. So it doesn't have to be someone they know, the most important thing is that you've spelled out how you want your money spent when you're gone. Can they go on a class trip to France? Can they get support after H.S. if they don't go to college or must they wait until age 30? The possibilities are vast.

My cousin is quite rich but her son is very lazy. Her estate will go into a trust that pays him as much as he earns every year. If he earns $30,000 he'll get $30,000 from the estate. The estate also takes care of the very valuable house and property - pays the taxes, etc. and arranges the yearly maintenance, lawn care, etc. Her financial advisor thought of the plan and set it up and the company will serve as custodian when the time comes.

Anyway, when all is said and done, you might want to sit down with a financial planner to get ideas. Personally, since you got the shaft in many ways through this process, I'd suggest you ramp up your retirement fund and not worry about the kids jut yet because the odds are very much in favor of you retiring as opposed to them losing their father.

barcher144 posted 12/7/2020 18:09 PM

Thanks for the input on life insurance, but it really does not apply to my situation very much.

I currently have two different life insurance policies. One is completely free to me, as a job benefit. The second one is heavily subsidized and it is not very expensive for the payout. Still, perhaps I could cancel that policy after my divorce is final. I'll still need someone to be a beneficiary for the "free" policy.

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