Your Top 11 Credit Questions Answered

Talk to your divorce attorney to find out what can be done in terms of forcing your ex to live up to the terms of the divorce decree. If he doesn't have the assets to pay off the debt now, you may want to ask whether he can be required to make payments to your attorney, who can then make sure the payments are made. As long as the account remains unpaid, however, and he pays it late, your credit will be damaged.

10. I co-signed an auto loan for my daughter. When I tried to refinance my mortgage, I found out she has been paying it late, and it has hurt my credit score. What can I do to get that information removed?

Sorry, you're likely out of luck. If there is one piece of advice we can give about co-signing, it is this: don't do it. When you co-sign, you are agreeing to be fully responsible for the debt. And by law, if the issuer reports debts to a credit-reporting agency, it must report that information under the co-signer's name as well as the primary account holder's.

That said, the lender might be willing to remove those late payments if you will bring the account up to date and/or pay it off. If it does agree to "re-age" the account, get it in writing. Of course, by contacting the lender, you may find that you are inviting the creditor to contact you if your daughter gets behind again, whether or not your credit report is cleared. After all, you are the co-signer.

11. I'm deep in debt and have a terrible credit score. What should I do?

While it may not seem like a blessing right now, your lousy credit score may be a plus. It will keep you from digging the hole deeper with a "consolidation" loan. It's time to focus all your effort on one goal -- getting rid of that debt. I would first encourage you to get a free debt consultation to determine whether a credit-counseling program will work for you.

Even with bad credit, you may be able to get your interest rates lowered that way. And you'll get advice to help you build money management skills. If it turns out this type of program won't work for you, you may need to talk with a bankruptcy attorney.

Either way, once your debt is no longer an issue, you can begin to rebuild your credit. We have seen consumers significantly improve their credit scores in less than two years when they worked at it. Good luck!

Related Links:

Can You Really Get Your Credit Score for Free?

The Ultimate Credit Report Cheat Sheet

What's Really in Your Credit Report?

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