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How divorce can impact your credit if you aren't careful

You have a multitude of things to worry about during your divorce. However, it's essential not to neglect your credit. You'll need a solid credit rating as you begin your life as a newly single person. You may need to rent an apartment, buy a new home or car and possibly move to a new city.

Of course, it's essential to keep an eye on all of your joint credit cards and loan products like your mortgage. Make sure that you and your spouse have clearly stipulated who's making which payments until the divorce settlement is final. If one spouse neglects an account or abuses it, the impact on the other's credit score can be devastating.

It's too easy to neglect bills during a divorce because it's such a chaotic time. If you're used to your spouse paying all of the bills, getting into the habit of paying them yourself can be difficult. However, this is no time to fall behind on these obligations.

Even if you and your spouse are both responsible for your joint credit products, divorce can still have a negative impact on your credit if you aren't careful. You likely are undertaking new expenses -- including legal fees. Further, once you're divorced, you'll be living on one income. Even if you're receiving spousal and/or child support, you will likely have less disposable income than you did when you were married.

Take care not to run up credit card bills that you can't pay off. This can take a toll on your credit. It's wise to develop a budget based on your new monthly income and expenses so that you can determine where you'll need to cut back.

It may be worth a little added expense to consult with a financial professional who can help you develop a budget and get your financial life organized. It's typically best to find someone new if you and your spouse had a financial advisor while you were married. You want someone who has no dual loyalties and will be focused on what's best for you. Your family law attorney can probably provide you with some recommendations.

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