Not only can getting a divorce affect your bank account, it can also affect your credit score and your ability to secure credit on your own. If you had any joint credit accounts with your former spouse and he or she does not keep up their end, it could affect your credit score.

Ideally it would be good to maintain a separate account in your name only while you are married, but many spouses combined bank accounts and finances. You should re-establish your own financial identity the moment you and your spouse separate, because you will most likely need credit to be able to start your new life as a single person. Apply for a department store credit card as well as a small line of credit for starters.

You should also request a copy of your credit report once you separate from your spouse. This is especially crucial if your former spouse was the one who handled all of the finances or all of the debt is not solely in your name. Some spouses get an unexpected surprise when they see how many loans and credit cards are in their name.

Now is a good time to consult with your financial advisor and attorney to determine how best to handle your current financial situation and make sure your rights are protected during your divorce. Pay off any joint debt if you can. Make sure you keep up regular payments on all your revolving credit lines. Close any joint bank accounts and cancel any joint credit cards. Do this now, not when the divorce is final.

Create a budget for yourself so you can on paper how well you are managing your money and where you may need to change some of your spending habits. You may have to decide what you can do without if you find you have less money to work with than you’re accustomed to. Now is the time to establish a steady source of income and re-establish some positive credit for yourself. Open a checking and savings account for yourself and be careful not to overdraw the checking account. Whatever budget you design for yourself, be sure it’s one you can stick to.