Marrying Someone with Bad Credit: What changes after “I do”?

What happens when you marry someone with bad credit?

Are wedding bells in your future? One of the concerns that a lot of couples bring to married life is worry about what the other’s less-than-perfect financial history might do to their own credit rating. Luckily, there is not a lot to worry about. There are many things that don’t change after you say “I do” and a few things that do:

  • You don’t become responsible for your beloved’s pre-marriage debt. If they were on the hook before, they still are now.
  • But, you do share responsibility for any new debt in both of your names. This would be true whether you were married or not.
  • Depending on whether the state you live in has community property laws, you could wind up jointly responsible for new debt each of your runs up in your own name after you marry.
  • Do either of you have student loan debt? If you are working to get it out of default or if you refinance, both of your incomes will be taken into account for repayment. This can mean a higher monthly bill than you’d have if you were single.

The best thing that you can do as a couple is have a discussion about your financial situations (complete with FICO numbers) and your philosophies on debt and spending. Getting it all out before you say “I do” can save a lot of “what did I do?!” later.