Article by Sam Griffin - 8th April 2020

How To Separate Your Credit Report From An Ex-Partner

Separating your Credit Report from an ex-partner or spouse is easier than most people initially think. You might be wondering exactly how another person ends up recorded on your Credit Report, whether they are damaging your Credit Score, and if there’s anything you can do to remove them.

We’ll answer these questions in detail, but the short answer is that any old or irrelevant links to ex-partners can be removed from your Credit Report fairly easily. Checking your Credit Report for a Financial Association and submitting a disassociation request is normally all that’s needed to have an ex-partner taken off your Credit Report.

What is a Financial Association?

If you hold a joint credit account (or have in the past), have applied for joint finance, or are jointly named on utility bills, then there’s a good chance that the other person will be listed on your Credit Report as a Financial Association.

Whether you are single, married, or divorced is of no real consequence to your Credit Report. Instead, a Financial Association will be made once shared finance has been identified between you both. Put simply, if you are financially associated to one another, you will likely be recorded on each other’s Credit Report as a Financial Association.

If you are considered to be linked with someone else, their name will be recorded in the Financial Associations section of your Credit Report. Note that you personally will not have access to their private information, just as they won’t have access to yours. You will simply see their name and which company (usually a lender) created the link. That said, Financial Associations can have a real impact on your finances. This is because lenders and other companies that you apply with can see a Financial Association’s full Credit Report, meaning any negative information against their name can hurt your applications. We will cover this specifically later.

Financial Associations stay on your Credit Report indefinitely until you manually request to have them taken off. This means if you’ve gotten separated or divorced since you last checked your Credit Report (or have never checked it at all) you’ll likely find that your ex-partner is still lingering there.

Similarly, if you haven’t yet separated but are planning to, you won’t be de-linked from your ex-partner just by waiting patiently. You will need to actively check your Credit Report and submit a dispute to have the Financial Association taken off once you no longer have any financial link to that person.

As a brief aside, it’s also important to note that anyone can potentially be recorded as a Financial Association, not just partners and spouses (although they are most common). Family members, flat mates, friends, and even colleagues can be named on your Credit Report if you’ve shared finances, such as a joint credit account or joint utilities – and these people can affect your finances too if they’re named as a Financial Association.

Can an ex-partner's Credit Score lower my Credit Score?

One of the main concerns people have about Financial Associations is whether they can hurt Credit Scores. In short, no – your ex-partner cannot lower (or raise) your Credit Score. This is because your Credit Score is a measure of your creditworthiness using just your own information and no one else’s.

Things like the length of your credit history, how you’ve managed your credit agreements, and whether you’ve ever missed a payment can affect your Credit Score.

However, while it’s true that your Credit Score is unaffected by Financial Associations, it is also true that your credit applications themselves might be harmed by an ex-partner on your Credit Report.

How might an ex-partner's Credit Report affect me?

While you are Financially Associated to another person, any companies that you apply with (such as lenders, mobile phone providers, and utility companies) can check your associate’s Credit Report alongside yours when assessing your application - regardless of whether you’re separated or divorced.

This means lenders and other organisations can see any of your associate’s missed payments, defaults, County Court Judgments, and insolvencies, when coming to a decision about your application. This negative information that relates to your Financial Association can be treated just as if it is your own.

Because of this, Financial Associations can hurt your chances at being accepted for credit – especially larger, important accounts like mortgages – if negative information is found on your associate’s Credit Report.

The flipside of this is that if your Financial Association has a healthy Credit Report, it can improve your chances of being accepted. However, you cannot be certain what information is recorded on someone’s private Credit Report, so there is no way to know with certainty how an ex-partner will influence your applications.

How long does it take to have an ex-partner removed from my Credit Report?

The first thing you need to do is to check your Credit Report online, so you can see whether you have a Financial Association with anyone. Checking your Credit Report can only take a few minutes, so this part is relatively quick.

If you find a Financial Association that you’d like removed, you then just need to submit a disassociation request to the relevant Credit Reference Agency. checkmyfile not only gives access to the UK’s most detailed Credit Report, but also routinely raises these types of disputes for customers with all Credit Reference Agencies, so we can handle it for you.

Because the Credit Reference Agencies have a statutory 28-day time frame to respond to dispute requests, it may take up to a month to receive a resolution. That said, these simpler types of disputes are often completed much sooner than 28 days, but the Credit Reference Agency may require the full time frame in some cases.

Because of the potential delay in requests being actioned, it’s usually best to check your Credit Report and raise disputes sooner rather than later, as it can save you some hassle further on down the road, such as when you are in the middle of applying for credit. Finding out about an association as a result of a rejected application could mean that you miss out on a great rate or, worse still, a mortgage on an in-demand dream house.

When can’t an ex-partner be removed?

When a disassociation request is submitted to a Credit Reference Agency, it will check whether there is any ongoing financial link between the two of you. Providing no active link is found, the Financial Association will be considered finished and removed accordingly. This successful result is the most common outcome.

If you raise a disassociation dispute but the Credit Reference Agency does find active information between you both, such as an open credit agreement that you’re jointly named on, they will be unable to disassociate you, as there is still joint information keeping the link live.

In this case, the Credit Reference Agency should confirm which company holds the active account, pointing you in the right direction to have the account closed or to have a name removed. Once the active account has been amended to allow a disassociation, you can then re-raise the dispute.

How do I check my Credit Report?

Whether you’re already separated or currently going through the process, your Credit Report is available online at any time. Once you have accessed yours, you will be able to see your Financial Associations and request that the Credit Reference Agency removes any links to people that are no longer relevant.

Once a Financial Association is removed, it will stop impacting on your credit applications. Any applications you make afterwards will be assessed using just your own information, rather than being influenced by other people’s credit history. For this reason, it’s usually best to have out of date links removed to ensure that your Credit Report accurately reflects your current situation.

Because there are three Credit Reference Agencies that record Financial Associations – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – you’ll need to check the information being reported by each of them to ensure you’ve seen everything you need. The CRAs are separate companies, so often hold different information to one another.

checkmyfile makes the process of checking for and disputing Financial Associations at each Credit Reference Agency quick and easy. Your Multi Agency Credit Report collates complete information from: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – into a single Credit Report, giving you easy access to the information you need on the same easy-to-use platform.

You can even submit a disassociation request through your online account, and we will raise the dispute on your behalf.

You can try your Multi Agency Credit Report free for 30 days, then for just £14.99 monthly. Cancel easily online at any time.

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