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Don't let divorce leave you in dire financial straits

According to the United States Census Bureau, approximately half of all couples who tie the knot will one day face off in a divorce. Whether the split is an amicable or hotly contested one, it is likely that both partners will take a hit to their bank accounts. Below are some ways that a divorce can wreak havoc on personal finances.

-- Lowered standard of living. Those who have gone through a divorce are more at risk for earning less than $25,000 annually, relying on public assistance and living below the poverty line than married couples.

-- Refinancing mortgages becomes more difficult, as now the party keeping the family home will have to qualify separately for the mortgage and get their former spouse off of the loan. Selling the home can be the most viable option in some cases.

-- You may be on the hook for joint debts like personal and auto loans as well as credit card debt accrued during the marriage. If your ex quits paying their share, lenders can pursue you for the entire debt. Your credit score can get dinged by any delinquencies or charge-offs.

-- Budgeting is especially important after a divorce in order to fund college educations and meet mortgage payments. Lowering your standard of living may be necessary.

-- You may have to seek out other health care options if you were on a work policy sponsored by your ex's employer. This can raise premiums.

-- Retirement pensions split in half can leave both parties with less than enough to make ends meet in their golden years. Early withdrawals bring penalties and tax issues.

In order to get the best deal possible out of your divorce settlement, never sign any agreements until your family law attorney has had a chance to review the offer and make a recommendation.

Source: Bankrate.com, "5 ways divorce can cost you," Janna Herron, accessed July 28, 2015

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