Recently separated or divorced? That court decree often has no effect on your previous contracts with creditors. If you have joint accounts or volunteered as a co-signer, they could require you to shoulder the entire debt -- not just half -- by yourself, says Barry Paperno, consumer affairs manager with myFICO.com.
What if your name is on the mortgage but your spouse kept the house? If "that loan is still in your name, it will still continue to be reflected on your credit," says Paperno. That means if the ex starts missing payments, your credit score will tank, too.
Best move: Make sure any debts with your name attached are paid off prior to the divorce. If that's not possible, put those bills in the name of the person who is taking responsibility for the debt (and verify that it has actually been done) before you split.
If you can't do that, says Paperno, at least have it mandated that you'll have access to the account records so you can monitor the situation and will know if your ex isn't meeting those obligations.