Soooooo you're finally getting hitched and you know that saying "love is blind"..... yeah well so blind that it completely overlooked the stack of denial letters, late payments and judgement threats your partner has ignored on the coffee tables for months. Now its time for you guys to move in together, jump the broom and become "one" --except in this credit world you are the only "one" lenders will deal with. This is because due to bad credit your partner is unable to get an apartment, utilities connected, banks accounts let alone a store card!
Luckily, you are not responsible for your partners poor credit or previously incurred debt- unless you decide to inherit the debt by taking out a loan to pay off the debt -and I definitely don't suggest that! Nonetheless, their current debt can prevent you as a couple from obtaining credit together such as joint accounts, vehicles or purchasing a home. It's even likely that you can be unable to obtain these things based on their credit if you and your partner should decide to enter into the loan together-even if your credit is A1!
What are you to do now!?! Don't panic, a low credit score is the last thing we want you getting cold feet over ! It's great that you are looking into this issue prior to the actual marriage. Finances are the number one cause for disagreements and even worst divorces so it's better to discuss the elephant in the room prior to marriage. Here are some tips you can take to eliminate or at least mitigate the impacts of your partners poor credit health.
1.) Order copies of both of your credit reports from one or more major credit reporting bureaus. Then, sit down and honestly discuss your past and future finances. Find out why your future spouse got into trouble with credit.
2.) Discuss credit restoration services for your future spouse so they can clean up his or her credit record and get back on track financially. Many companies such as Apex Credit Consultants will offer workshop seminars that can assist couples in becoming financially responsible together. Apex can also help you negotiate with creditors and can set up a budget you both can follow to pay off outstanding debt as soon as possible.
If all else fails consider keeping your credit separate until you partner's credit records improves and or they become financially responsible. Luckily, you are not legally required to jointly apply for credit when you marry. So in the meantime, apply for credit by yourself instead of applying for joint credit after you're married. Worst case scenario you can have "authorized user" cards issued for your spouse to use, so even if your spouse has bad credit, your credit rating will remain unaffected.
However, let me warn you that maintaining separate credit files can be difficult and stressful! It's likely, your spouse may resent that you control all of the credit in the household. It's also possible that you'll have a harder time qualifying for loans (e.g., a mortgage) alone than if your spouse's income could also be counted. What ever you decide to do be financially responsible.
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