According to most matrimonial experts, differences about money are the leading cause of conflict in a marriage – and a leading contributor to divorce.
As divorce lawyers, we see many more people at the end of a marriage than at the beginning, and many of them had no idea of their spouse’s financial habits prior to marriage. And that is something that can – and should – be fixed.
So what if you have good credit and marry someone with bad credit?
First, you should know that credit reports are tied to individual Social Security numbers. Once you marry, your souls may come together as one, but your credit reports will not. So you can keep your good credit (as long as you continue to practice the good financial habits that got you there) while helping your spouse’s credit get better.
A few caveats: if you and your spouse open any joint accounts or one spouse adds another as an authorized user, then one spouse’s bad credit can definitely affect the joint credit you now hold.
Also, if you are applying for financing together – for a home, a car, or other large purchase – the lender will review both your credit histories. Chances are that if one is bad, your loan will either be denied, or you will only be offered a high interest rate.
If the person with the good score has enough income to apply on his or her own, then that may be a better option. However, you should be aware that if you apply for a loan as an individual, you alone may be held responsible for the debt.
If you do open new joint accounts, keep your individual accounts as well since older accounts help your score. It is always good to have your own history in case of a separation or divorce. You can pull a copy of your report from Experian, Equifax or TransUnion. You’re entitled to one free report a year from each at annualcreditreport.com.
By handling cases with the dignity and respect they deserve, we have helped many families in New Jersey civilly resolve their divorce, rebuild a satisfying life, and confidently step into the next chapter of their lives. Contact us today for your free consultation.