When getting a divorced, a person has so much to focus on as every aspect of his or her life changes at some very fundamental level.

The financial impact of a divorce is one that may be felt not only immediately but for years after the divorce has been finalized. How a couple addresses their joint debt may go a long way toward determining just how significant the long-term impact may be.

Credit scores after a divorce

As explained by the credit reporting bureau Experian, a person’s credit score generally drops upon getting divorced. This happens because the person’s debt-to-income ratio changes in a negative way. The cost of maintaining two households with the same money that previously maintained only is a challenge that cannot be escaped.

Rebuilding a healthy credit

A primary means of improving a credit score involves on-time payment of all debts, including for any debt account on which a person’s name appears. During a divorce, one spouse may have been required to repay a previously joint debt. This agreement would be detailed in the couple’s divorce decree.

However, U.S. News and World Report indicates that if the debt account continues to show both spouse’s names, the creditor could consider both parties equally responsible for the debt.

Credit damage thanks to a former spouse

When an ex fails to repay a debt per the divorce agreement and the account retains both spouses’ name, the creditor may report the repayment problems to credit bureaus. Both spouses’ credit scores may suffer in this situation. The creditor may also pursue repayment from both parties.