Divorcing changes a lot of things in life, and this is certainly not always for the worse. Many people even feel as if they thrive after leaving unhappy marriages. But there are still certain pitfalls to watch out for. Maintaining a financially healthy life often relies on one’s credit score, so it is important to safeguard that number during divorce.

Learning what one’s credit score is should be the first step. This can be accomplished by pulling credit reports from the three different credit bureaus — TransUnion, Equifax and Experian. These reports will not only show someone’s credit score, but also any lines of credit attached to his or her name. This includes joint marital accounts.

After identifying those joint marital accounts, the next step should be to quickly separate and close accounts. Removing a soon-to-be ex-spouse from any accounts for which he or she is an authorized user is also essential. Closing out accounts is not always possible for some people, though, but the information from the credit report can still show them which marital accounts they should be monitoring. Unusually large purchases or withdrawals are two key things to look out for.

The act of filing for divorce does not affect someone’s credit score. Instead, it is the actions associated with divorce, such as a spouse falling behind on payments for a joint loan that he or she is responsible for paying. This prospect can be unsettling, but it should not stop anyone from moving forward with what is best. Instead, he or she might benefit from speaking with an attorney who is well-versed in Illinois family law.