One of the most crucial things that people going through a divorce need to focus on is having financial security when it's over and they begin their lives as newly-single people. This financial security includes having a good credit score.

There are a number of factors inherent in divorce that can negatively impact people's credit scores. Even if your spouse doesn't run up thousands of dollars on your joint credit cards or stop paying the home equity line of credit you both have, you could see your credit score drop.

Following are some key reasons why and ways to minimize the impact.

Income Loss

Going from two incomes to one can significantly impact people's lifestyles, even if they receive spousal and child support. That's why one of the first things you should do is develop a budget based on your new expenses and income and other money you have coming in. Otherwise, you risk late and missed payments, which can seriously harm your credit.

Uneven Division of Debt

You and your spouse won't just be dividing assets. You'll be dividing your debt. If you end up with more of the debt than you can handle, it can drive down your credit score. A key to having a fair distribution is full and honest disclosure by each party of assets and debt. Some spouses don't learn until they divorce just how much debt is in their name or how far behind their husband or wife may have gotten in paying it.

That's just one reason why checking your credit reports as you prepare to begin the divorce is crucial. You need to know what's in your name. Often, attorneys will provide clients with guidance to get their names off joint accounts as quickly as possible.

Confusion or Lack of Communication Over Financial Responsibilities

Most spouses continue to have shared financial responsibilities during their divorce for everything from the mortgage to utilities to school tuition and more. Be certain that you're both clear about who is paying what so that payments don't get missed.

Even with a divorce decree in place, people can sometimes be unclear on what they've agreed to pay for. For example, one spouse may agree to pay off a joint car loan as part of the divorce and then neglect to -- impacting both spouses' credit.

It's often wise to have a financial advisor on your divorce team to help avoid preventable situations like these -- particularly if you weren't the one handling the finances during the marriage. Your divorce attorney can recommend a divorce financial analyst or other financial professional in your area.