How Does Getting Married Affect My Credit?

T’is the season of love, or is it? The summer months from May to August fall under the wedding season. Unfortunately, with the arrival of COVID-19 many couples are having to postpone their wedding indefinitely, or do smaller and more personal ceremonies. With the wedding season among us despite the pandemic, many are still wondering – how does getting married affect my credit score?


One Spouse has bad credit; one has good credit.

Many people wonder, will anything happen to my credit immediately after exchanging my nuptials? Although rumors have it that you marry your spouse’s score, that’s not the case.  Both you and your spouse will have distinct credit reports after you tie the knot together. Once the union happens, your spouse’s credit history will not appear on your credit report. Neither will your information show up on your spouse’s credit report. Life happens to all of us. You have that student loan bill that piles up, or you happen to have taken a loan for a medical bill. If it so happens that the one you love had some financial mishaps, you need not worry. Your spouse’s score won’t change yours and if your spouse has a low score, no one will be able to determine that by looking at your credit report. Another positive thing to note is that your credit report will not drop points if your spouse has a low score.


Will Changing Your Name Have an Effect on your Credit Score?

Another popular belief is that a name change or name alteration could change their credit score. If one spouse changes their name and reports the name change to their credit card companies, the new name will come up as a name variation on that person’s credit report. There is a false notion that if a spouse changes their name, their past credit history is eradicated. This is not true. Credit reports are linked to a person’s social security number. Once a spouse changes their name, they will continue to have only one credit report with accounts under the old and new names and the score will not be affected.


When Can Your Spouse’s Credit Affect Yours?

There are cases where your spouse’s credit can affect yours. When lenders make a decision for a joint account, they will look into the financial history of both parties. If your spouse or both of you have bad credit, there is a possibility that your application could be denied. If the application does get approved and one party has bad credit, you may get hit with high-interest rates. When a joint account is made, both parties become responsible for the payments. If there is negligence, both will be affected. The lender will come after both parties.


Is Debt Shared When Getting Married?

The individual debts both parties acquired before marriage remain their responsibilities. After marriage, you will bring upon joint debts. In the United States, there are “community property” states. These include Louisiana, California, Texas, Arizona, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Alaska. These states will consider both spouses responsible for all the debts and assets during the marriage. This includes other liabilities and debts that one spouse has, even if the other spouse does not know. The other states go under what is called “common law” rules. In this situation, spouses have the option to take on debts and own properties as individuals. They can also take on joint debts that will benefit both parties (including any children) as a family.


Helpful Tips

When two people come together to start their life, finances will be an important factor. An imperative decision that needs to be made is that you and your partner should put all your financial records on the table. This includes savings, investments, salaries, real estate, and, most importantly, credit. Sit down and review your credit reports together. It’s best to get a better understanding of each other’s financial situation now rather than get confronted with a crazy surprise further down the road! The question, how does getting married affect my credit score will always be on one’s mind.  It is crucial to make wise decisions as financial stress can affect a marriage. If the situation arises that you and your spouse have varying credit scores, you have to decide together how you want to handle credit-based applications.

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