Many of us can expect to go through at least one divorce in our lives. Such a separation can be draining financially, as well as emotionally and physically. If you don’t know the proper steps to protect your credit during a divorce, your score can take a serious hit. These pieces of advice can help prevent that from happening.

Budget ahead

Once the divorce has gone through, your finances are going to change dramatically. Budget out what your cost of living is prior to the divorce so that you can plan to maintain your standard of living, or to lower it somewhat if necessary. You don’t want to go into debt trying to maintain expensive habits without the shared finances that made them affordable.

Hire an attorney

While we all hope that if we ever get divorced, the separation will happen on friendly terms, this is not always the case. It is almost always better to have an attorney to protect yourself and your assets in a divorce, even if you trust your soon-to-be-former spouse.

Know what you have and what you owe

It is essential to know exactly what amounts are in joint bank accounts, what properties are owned jointly, what the balance is on a home mortgage, etc. Gather the knowledge you need to have by checking your credit report, opening every piece of mail to gather bills, past due notices, etc., and be sure to review bank statements frequently.

Save what you can

Divorces and their aftermaths are financially disruptive times. It is important to have some savings to fall back on. Experts suggest having a minimum of one month’s living expenses saved before filing for divorce. This will help ensure you do not have to go into debt to stay afloat and damage your credit.

Get a new credit card

While it may seem counter-intuitive to take out a credit card when trying to avoid lowering your credit score, it can actually help dramatically in the long run. Having the extra balance of new credit card can assist in hiring a good lawyer. Plus, it allows you to begin building an individual credit score if you didn’t have much of one before your marriage.