When two people get married, they promise to love each other “for richer, for poorer.” Unfortunately, financial difficulties can add more stress to an already strained marriage to the point where the love is lost. Once a couple gets divorced, they may think it is the end of their financial problems when, in fact, it is often the beginning. Unexpected life changes such as a divorce frequently lead the people involved to file for personal bankruptcy—whether it’s Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.

Before your financial situation comes to this, however, there are a number of things that divorcing couples can do to overcome financial challenges. First and foremost, you should close all joint credit card accounts and open separate ones. Otherwise, you will both be responsible for the debt incurred.

Another thing that financial experts recommend divorcing couples is analyze your debt-to-income ratio. Both parties will likely be living off of a lower net income than accustomed to. It is important to determine if you will be able to meet your minimum debt payments on that income. This might require changing your lifestyle and reducing expenses in some way. If you find that you simply cannot meet all of your financial obligations after your divorce, you may want to consider filing for personal bankruptcy.

There is no financial situation that is to dire to overcome. Just as legal help was available to guide you through the difficult process of divorce, it is also available to help you with the financial challenges typically accompany divorce. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can evaluate your unique situation and help you determine if filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is your best option.

Source: Al.com, “Don’t let divorce hurt your credit,” Matt Becker, July 17, 2013.