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Relationships and Money

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Spouse has bad credit
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Spouse spends too much
Stop fighting about money
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My future spouse has bad credit

Am I responsible for my future spouse's bad credit?

You are not responsible for your future spouse's bad credit or debt, unless you choose to take on the bad credit on by getting a loan together to pay off the debt.

How will my future spouse's bad credit affect me?

Your future spouse's credit problems can prevent you from getting credit as a couple after you're married. If you've had spotless credit, you may be turned down for credit cards or loans that you apply for together if your spouse has had serious problems.

Should I keep my credit separate?

Some people decide to keep their credit separate until their spouse's credit record improves. You are not required by law to combine your credit when you marry. If you want to keep your credit separate from your spouse, apply for credit by yourself instead of applying for joint credit after you're married.

You can have a separate "associate" card issued for your spouse to use. Keeping separate credit can be complicated and cause hurt feelings. Your spouse may resent that you control all of the credit in the household. Also, you might have a harder time qualifying for mortgage and car loans alone than if your spouse's income could also be counted.

What to do when your spouse has bad credit

If you and your spouse have different credit scores, it is important to decide how you want to handle credit-based applications.

Questions to consider:

  • Will the spouse with better credit make all the applications to get better rates?
  • Will you apply jointly and accept higher interest rates to improve the other spouse’s credit score?
  • Should we get a loan to payoff the credit debt?
  • Will my spouse be more financially responsible in the future?
  • Should we seek credit counseling?

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