Getting a divorce can have a lasting effect on couples in many ways. However, Pennsylvania couples can emerge from a divorce unscathed with regard to their credit if they take certain steps to separate their finances from their spouse.

The first step they should take is to pay off and then close any shared credit accounts. Divorcing couples who continue to keep open joint credit accounts will continue to be linked financially to their ex-spouse. If the shared debts cannot be paid off before the divorce is finalized, the obligations to the debts can be allocated between the two spouses and set as terms in the divorce decree.

It is also wise for spouses to remove any authorized user designations for their soon-to-be ex-spouse on credit cards. It is not unusual for a spouse with a user authorization to charge debt on a card knowing that they cannot be held liable. To remove authorized users, cardholders simply need to submit a request to the credit card issuer.

Keeping a close eye on one’s credit report and accounts once the divorce is finalized is another good practice to follow. It is possible that the delinquent bills belonging to an individual will appear on credit report of their former spouse. The three credit reporting agencies, TransUnion, Equifax and Experian, each provide free copies of credit reports to customers annually. Recently divorced individuals may also find it necessary to examine their credit and bank accounts online every day to make sure that there are no unauthorized purchases.

An attorney who practices divorce law may provide counsel on what steps a client should take to take during a divorce to protect their financial future. The attorney may be able to negotiate to obtain the desired settlement terms regarding how responsibilities for shared debts should be divided.