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Tackling your debts

Credit history – how to separate yours from an ex’s

Posted 20 February 2017

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Worried about your ex's bad credit history affecting you? Here's what you need to do.

Splitting up from a partner is never easy – and it can be even harder if you’ve still got financial links with them too. A mortgage to pay off together or a joint bank account can make things difficult – especially if you’re trying to make a clean break.

And sharing finances with an ex doesn’t just mean a headache for you – it can also spell trouble for your credit report. This is because you could be ‘financially linked’ and lenders can see their details when they’re deciding whether to let you borrow or not.

Don’t want your ex’s information to affect your credit report? We’ll show you how you can get this removed with a financial disassociation.

Have you got a financial link?

A financial link isn’t something you get when you reach a specific relationship milestone. You might not get a financial link when you move in with a partner or even when you get married.

Instead, you’ll be financially linked with someone when you take out:

• a joint mortgage,
• a bank account together, or
• a joint loan.

And if you get a joint CCJ against both of you, this will also create a financial link.

You won’t get a financial link if you start paying bills together. And a joint credit card doesn’t mean you have a financial link – because there’s actually no such thing as a joint credit card in the UK. You can only add another person as a secondary cardholder to an existing card.

How to get their details removed

A financial link with another person isn’t necessarily a bad thing but if you’ve split up, you probably don’t want your ex’s information appearing on your credit history. And even worse, if your ex has a bad credit history, this could see you turned down by lenders for borrowing.

So what can you do about this? Well, you can ask the three credit reference agencies to cut the financial links between the two of you. To do this you just need to submit a ‘notice of dissociation’ to them – this tells the credit reference agencies that there’s not a financial link between you anymore.

Apply for a notice of dissociation from all three credit reference agencies – that’s:

Experian,

CallCredit, and 

• Equifax.

You can’t get a financial disassociation if you’ve still got an active joint credit account though – so if you’re still paying off a mortgage together, for example. You’ll have to clear what you owe first, close the account – and then you can have a clean financial split.

by Emily Bancroft

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To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Advice Service, an independent service set up to help people manage their money.