Being lumbered with relationship debt is a common cause of bad credit. People can be stuck to a bad relationship long after the people in question have got out and moved on. A bad credit rating, or credit rating defaults, can hinder a person’s ability to obtain new credit for between 5 and 7 years, so it is important to cover yourself and your credit rating against an STD (Sexually Transmitted Debt).

By Graham Doessel – Founder and CEO of MyCRA Credit Rating Repairs and

Recently I read a fantastic article in Brisbane’s Courier Mail on How to Fix Relationship Debt. The perspective was provided from Generations Columnists Gen Y’s Justine Davies, Gen X’s Bruce Brammal, Baby Boomer Mark Bouris and Retiree Kerrin Falconer.

I would advise people to read the article and apply the principles for their generation.

Here is a great point I found in this article:

“A FEW years ago, Paul Clitheroe told me that he wanted money to be the sex of the next generation.

He explained that when he was young, sex was a taboo topic whereas now it’s talked about everywhere. He hoped that Gen Y would do the same thing for money: bring it into the mainstream.

The best place to start making that conversational change is with your partner, because according to Relationships Australia, conflict over money is one of the top causes of arguments and relationship breakdowns in Australia,” Justine Davies says.

Being in love is one of the best feelings in the world, but not one of the most practical states to be in. Sometimes personal financial values go out the window and people lose themselves in the process of adding to the ‘relationship’ and creation of ‘us’.

But it is important to think practically about joint finances.

Many people come unstuck by not asking the tough financial questions about their prospective partners early in the relationship.

And when they fail to, when love turns sour they can end up broken hearted and broke.

Black marks on your credit rating – the ‘STD’ that is hard to get rid of.

When two different money ‘personalities’ combine, the potential for both to be financially damaged is greatly increased.

Every day we meet people who need help with fixing credit rating issues due to no fault of their own really, but they have fallen under the financial shortcomings of a partner.

When people take out any credit together, such as loans, utility accounts, homes and rental properties, they become very reliant on the partner to keep up their end of the credit repayments.

Sometimes one partner ends up with a bad credit score, simply because the other person on the account has not kept up with repayments. People can be unaware their partner is generating defaults on their credit rating until it is too late.

In many instances it’s not until people apply for credit in their own right that they find out about the credit problems their partner has initiated. The relationship may even have ended years ago and the partner is still paying for it.

Bad credit history can last for 5-7 years, depending on the listing. The most common type of negative listing is a default, and is placed by the creditor when an account holder fails to make payments past 60 days.

For Valentine’s Day this year, I wrote a post titled ‘Valentines Day Blues. What You Need To Know About Your Credit Rating When Love Goes Bad.’

Here are my 10 Steps for financial separation to protect your credit rating from that post:

10 Steps for financial separation

1. Cancel joint bank accounts. You could use the money from these accounts to go towards paying off any debts you may have together.

2. Pay off and cancel joint credit cards. If the debt on the card/s can’t be paid off, inform the creditor that you have separated and ask them to put a stop on the account so there may be no more transactions. They could possibly make arrangements to transfer the repayments to two separate accounts.

3. Resolve the mortgage debt. Sell the home and divide the proceedings, or sell your share of the home to your ex-spouse or vice-versa. Before this takes place, notify the bank you have separated. Make sure no further amount can be redrawn on the loan and that you receive separate statements whilst you are separated and both still own the property.

4. Transfer names on other accounts. Phones, electricity accounts, rental properties, rates, car loans and store credit should all be transferred to one name as appropriate.

5. Pay any unpaid accounts. No matter who has accrued these debts, the creditors will still see you as responsible. Ensure all accounts are paid on time while they are in both names.

6. Keep a record of all undertakings. Keep good paperwork and notes related to the separation, including cancellation or changes to any accounts for future reference.

7. Employ a good family solicitor. Legal advice is important as it relates to children, family businesses and property. Also if anything runs off course with division of debt, they can give good advice on the next course of action.

8. Notify credit reporting agencies. Let Veda Advantage, Dun & Bradstreet, or Tasmanian Collection Agency know of your separation and any steps you have taken to separate accounts to date.

9. Check your credit score. Request a copy of your credit report and check each entry. A free copy of your credit file is available every 12 months from one or more of the credit reporting agencies in Australia. This is essential particularly if settlement is drawn out over a number of years.

10. Seek help from a professional credit repairer for any defaults, Writs or Judgments. Once outstanding accounts accrued by your spouse are paid, there is the issue of the bad credit score which needs to be cleared so you may have the opportunity to borrow again in the future.

Gen X’s Bruce Bammal describes the steps people can take if they find themselves in a post-relationship debt crisis:

“If an ex has done the dirty on you financially, urgently get hold of your credit file to see exactly what damage has been done. They’re free through Dun & Bradstreet ( and Veda Advantage (

Assess the damage and start repair jobs, if possible, by contacting the organisations directly. Then follow up with the credit reporting services.

Cancel joint accounts and credit cards. End all financial ties. See a specialist about recovering from sexually transmitted debt,” he says.

The repair jobs Bruce talks about on a person’s credit rating could be small or could be significant. But if the bad credit rating really shouldn’t be there, if the listing contains errors or inconsistencies, then the negative effect on the person’s finances should warrant attempting to have the bad credit history removed.

Current legislation does allow people to have inconsistencies removed from their credit file, but the whole process is more complicated than most people are led to believe.

Credit reporting is governed by strict laws that the creditor must abide by, and there is no point people going in to bat for themselves without an extensive knowledge of this credit reporting legislation and a good ability to negotiate with creditors.

In reality many people are not successful when they attempt to fix bad credit themselves. Remember, often it is a large creditor which put the listing there in the first place, so people need to know what to say to these companies and the way to say it. They also need to be thoroughly schooled in the legislation (or have enough time to get to know it), to ensure a successful credit repair. Basically people are preparing a ‘case’ to show reason as to why the creditor should remove the listing.

In the preparation of this case and presentation to the creditor there are many instances where individuals can write, do or say the wrong thing, which can not only mean they get the creditor ‘offside’ but can damage the chances of having the listing removed for the entire term of the listing. So for the best chance at success, consult a reputable credit repair company. Visit our main website at or call tollfree 1300 667 218.

Image: graur codrin/