Many married couples in Illinois choose to share almost everything after saying “I do.” Unfortunately, depending on what kind of information was shared between the couple, this can ultimately backfire during a divorce. Of particular worry for some divorcing individuals is the state of their finances and credit scores.

Worry about finances after a divorce may be focused more on child support or alimony payments, for both those who may need to pay and those entitled to receive. This may be in part due to the common misconception that a married couple has something like a joint credit score. In reality, both parties continue to maintain separate credit scores, although both are generally considered when the couple opens a joint account or takes out a joint loan.

These types of debt are usually split up during property division, with one spouse responsible for a certain credit card payment and the other footing the bill for a car loan, for instance. However, simply because your divorce settlement says that you’re not responsible for a certain payment doesn’t mean you won’t still be affected. If your ex fails to pay a bill that has your name on it, your credit score can take a hit.

It is imperative that which accounts are joint and which are personal be made clear before any division of responsibility for payment is made. If a soon-to-be-ex has never been particularly strong in the area of finances or bill payment, some may be more inclined to ask for responsibility of payments made to joint accounts. Once a joint account is paid off in full, it will generally be able to be closed. However, until such a time, Illinois couples facing divorce should be aware of the possible ramifications of ignoring the important role that joint accounts can have on their credit scores.

Source:, “Does Divorce Lead to Identity Theft? How to Protect Yourself”, Nicholas Pell, Nov. 7, 2014