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Can Divorce Impact my Credit Score?

Getting a divorce is a major step that will impact your life in numerous ways. You will need to figure out living arrangements, your overall income and net worth will most likely drop, and if you have children together with your spouse, you will need to figure out how you will parent them while living separate lives.  

While a marriage dissolution will almost certainly affect your financial circumstances, it does not have a direct impact on your credit score. Just like when you get married, the act of filing for divorce does not cause the credit reporting agencies to lower your score. So, all things being equal, the divorce itself will not negatively affect your ability to obtain credit.

Unfortunately, things do not remain “equal” after a divorce. The effects of the process can and often do impact your credit score. There are things that can occur in conjunction with a divorce that can adversely affect your credit. Here are three of the most common examples:

Tighter Finances

The cost of a divorce and/or the decrease in income that results from it can make it more difficult for you to pay your bills. This is especially true if your spouse was the primary breadwinner.  One of the major factors in determining your credit score is on-time payments. Usually, a payment that is a day or two late is not going to get recorded on your credit report. However, if you are 30 days (or more) late with your payments, this can cause your credit score to drop significantly. If at all possible, try to pay at least the minimum amount due before the due date to avoid this happening.

Another factor that credit agencies looking at is your credit usage. If you are forced to use a higher percentage of your credit limits because of your divorce, this could also cause your score to drop. Watch your credit limits carefully and try to save as much of your credit as possible for emergencies.

A Deadbeat Spouse

Most couples have some joint credit accounts, and these accounts can become a major problem during a divorce. Examples of joint accounts may include your home mortgage, auto loans, joint credit cards, and joint personal loans. Although the court may have ruled that your ex-spouse is responsible for certain joint accounts, this is no guarantee that they’re going to get paid. And if these bills don’t get paid, your credit score is going to suffer.

Perhaps your ex-spouse is not as concerned about his/her credit as you are. This is often the case when one spouse was in charge of the finances in the household, and the other has always been weak in this area. If you have accounts that are in both of your names, keep a close eye on them, even if your ex-spouse is the one who is supposed to pay them. You may need to make at least minimum payments on these accounts to protect your credit for the time being. Later on, you can try to recover the funds directly from your ex or through the courts.

A Vindictive Spouse

This third issue is similar to the previous one but taken to a greater extreme. Rather than your ex-spouse just not paying their bills, you may end up with a situation where they purposely run up credit out of spite or grief over the divorce. This happens most commonly when a spouse is an authorized user on another spouse’s individual credit account. The spouse who is an authorized user can run up charges without any consequences, leaving you to pay the bill. To prevent this from happening, take steps immediately once you know you’re getting a divorce to remove your spouse from any accounts that are in your name. It would also be a good idea to close any joint credit accounts that have little to no balance on them. Do everything possible to separate yourself from your spouse financially. This is the best way to limit the chances of your credit being damaged during the divorce process.

Contact an Experienced Connecticut Family Law Attorney

If you are facing a divorce in Connecticut, it will affect your life in many ways, and you need skilled counsel in your corner to provide legal guidance and moral support. At The APEX Law Firm, LLC, we know that divorce is costly both emotionally and financially, and we give our clients the strong personalized representation they need during this difficult time. Call our office today at (860) 900-0900 to schedule a consultation. You may also send us a message through our web contact form or stop by our Hartford County office in person at your convenience.

What Happens in CT if I Get a 2nd or 3rd DUI?

Connecticut has some of the harshest of DUI laws in the nation. In fact, according to a 2015 study, the Constitution State is the third strictest with regards to drunk driving offenses, behind only Alaska and Arizona. Penalties for a DUI conviction in CT can include heavy fines, jail time, loss of your driving privileges, probation, and other consequences.

A first-time conviction in Connecticut is a misdemeanor. A first-time DUI conviction (also commonly referred to as OUI or operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs) also carries fines of up to $1000, a 45-day driver’s license suspension followed by one year with an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, and up to six months in jail, 48 hours of which may not be suspended or reduced, and 100 hours of community service.

Second and Subsequent DUI Offenses in Connecticut

A second-time DUI/OUI conviction within ten years after a prior conviction for the same offense is a felony, with fines of up to $4,000, a 45-day driver’s license suspension followed by three years with an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, and up to two years in prison with a mandatory minimum of 120 days in prison, 100 hours of community service and treatment if ordered by the Court.

For a third or subsequent DUI/OUI conviction, things get far worse. Fines can be as high as $8000, your driver’s license can be permanently revoked, and up to three years in prison, one year of which may not be suspended or revoked. The Court may suspend two years of the three-year sentence, with the possibility of reinstatement if the defendant violates probation. As for the permanent driver’s license revocation, the driver can petition the Connecticut DMV to have his/her driver’s license reinstated after two years. There is no guarantee this petition will be granted, however, and the driver must prove that they are no longer a danger to the public safety or welfare.

Aggravated Circumstances and Enhanced DUI Penalties

The penalties for first, second, third and subsequent DUI/OUI convictions can be enhanced if there are aggravated circumstances that accompany the arrest. Examples may include:

  • A DUI accident involving serious bodily injury or death;
  • Driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of more than double the legal limit;
  • Child endangerment;
  • Driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license;
  • Leaving the scene of an accident;
  • Fleeing a police officer;
  • Refusal to submit to the required chemical (breath, blood, or urine) test after the DUI arrest.

Beyond the criminal and administrative penalties, a second, third, or subsequent DUI conviction can incur other negative consequences for your life and future. For example, having a criminal conviction on your record can make it more difficult to obtain housing, employment, and college scholarships. If you are a commercial driver, a DUI conviction can jeopardize your livelihood, even if you are arrested for drunk driving while you were off duty. And if your job requires a professional license, you may lose your license once your licensing board becomes aware of your conviction.

A felony conviction in Connecticut is very difficult to get removed. The only way is to apply for an expungement pardon with the CT Board of Pardons and Parole. You must wait five years from the date of your felony conviction to apply.

Speak with a Skilled Connecticut DUI Defense Lawyer

Being arrested for a second, third, or subsequent DUI in CT is serious business. Prosecutors are not nearly as forgiving the second or third time around, and you need an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner who thoroughly understands the inner workings of the Connecticut criminal justice system and the most effective DUI defense strategies for your situation. At The APEX Law Firm, LLC, we have several years of experience successfully defending clients charged for DUI in Connecticut. We work tirelessly on your behalf, exploring every potential legal avenue toward the goal of mitigating the circumstances as much as possible.

Call our office today at (860) 900-0900 to schedule a confidential and discreet consultation. You may also send us a message through our online contact form or stop by our Hartford County office in person at your convenience.

Delays and Denials in Veterans Benefits – Service men and women feel betrayed!

Ex-servicemen feel betrayed due to the sluggish nature of Veteran Affairs. A rally recently brought out by some outraged soldiers in Ottawa, Canada, echoed the same grudge against the Veteran Affairs which can be heard across the Globe. The delay in releasing benefits  has always struck a note of discord among war veterans across all geographical boundaries. As Lord Alfred Tennyson stated in his poem years ago “Into the valley of Death :    Rode the six hundred” These soldiers are fearless in the battle field, but what keeps their blood pressure running high is within the country; fighting a perpetual battle for claims which they rightfully deserve. In this David vs Goliath battle, these men and woman who are taught to fight against all odds, seem too feeble and lackadaisical.

Finding a good and competent lawyer can be their best way to get some respite. The bone of contention in most cases lies with the bureaucratic problem and the goof ups that have stemmed, perhaps due to the surge in the number of pending cases and also the devil-may care attitude of the department. However, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel as The President has expressed concerns about the way the department of VA is functioning. He is seeking help from other quarters as well, outside the cordon of the army, when he expressed his intention to nominate Mr. Robert. A McDonald, a former chief executive of Procter and Gamble, with the speculation that a person from a global corporate world can turn around the system which is rocked by allegations of mismanagement. It certainly won’t be easy for Mr. McDonald as he, if confirmed, will take over a department plagued with operational and technological dysfunctions, ebbing morale, hostility towards whistle blowers, and skepticism among veterans fanning the flames. Along with these he will be faced with an uphill task of helping those returning from the battlefield with serious injuries or psychological problems to get their benefits in a timely manner.

As the onus is on the VA to significantly increase their transparency and accountability, there is also a huge requirement for doctors, nurses and other medical staff, which stems up from the surge in claims from those new veterans returning from the battle field of Iraq and Afghanistan. What needs to be seen is how the VA handles the situation going forward into the next few years.