Does Getting Married Affect Your Credit Score?

Does Getting Married Affect Your Credit Score?

So many things change when you get married. Your name (well, sometimes), your priorities, your living situation, and maybe even your finances.

So many people do not realize that things can change within their financial situation when two people get married.

In this article, we will be exploring the effect that getting married can have on a particular aspect of your finances. This is, of course, your credit score.

Credit scores are super important for so many reasons, and it can be a worrying time whenever you think your score might be affected.

Does getting married affect your credit score?

What happens to your credit score when you get married?

In general, you are not likely to see much of a difference in your credit score when you get married. Getting married alone will not affect your credit score in the slightest.

Most credit companies do not even take into account if a person is married because when you take out credit alone, you have the sole responsibility. Your credit score is a personal thing, and you will keep your own personal credit history.

That being said, there are some things that you should keep in mind, such as the issues of name changes which can be an issue if they are not updated with the relevant credit companies (more on this later).

As well as this, when you get married, you will be able to take out shared credit. This means both of your scores can affect the other.

Do you keep your own credit score when you get married?

Yes! We are pleased to tell you (or not so pleased if you have bad credit…) that you do indeed get to keep your credit score when you get married. 

As we mentioned in the previous section, your own credit score and credit history remain and should be largely unaffected (unless you get joint credit with your spouse). 

This may be good news if you are worried that a bad credit score from your spouse may bring yours down. 

That being said, you should bear in mind that their bad credit score could affect you in other ways, such as making it difficult to get joint credit such as loans, mortgages, and a joint credit card (we will be exploring this in more detail later in the article).

Can we get shared credit? Who will that affect?

Yes, it is likely that you will be able to apply for shared credit when you get married.

What we mean by this is that you will be able to apply for credit cards, loans, and other finance options together, basing the application on both of your incomes. 

However, this does mean that you will both be in a position of liability. So, even if your partner loses their job and your financial situation changes, you will still have to pay it with just one income. 

This also means that any activity that occurs on your shared credit accounts will affect both of you. This goes for both good and bad occurrences. 

What we mean is that if your spouse pays all the mortgage bills on time, it will be positive for both of your credit scores. On the other hand, if you miss a payment, it can affect both of you. 

Having shared credit also means that if one person has bad credit and the other person has good credit, you may struggle to get approved when applying for certain types of credit and loans. For example, applying for a mortgage with your spouse if they have bad credit can be difficult.

Does changing your name affect your credit score?

No, changing your name should not really affect your credit score or report. You should, in theory, keep the same score and report, just as long as you make sure to inform the relevant credit agencies of your name change.

The easiest way to do this is by updating your name on credit cards, in your bank account, and on any credit accounts you have.

By doing this, the bank and credit companies should automatically inform the credit bureaus who are in charge of your scores and reports to keep them in the loop. 

The same process should also be followed if you are moving home as a result of your new marriage. Your address needs to be kept up to date, so if you and your spouse move in together for the first time, be sure to change this too.

If my spouse has bad credit, will mine be affected?

If your spouse has bad credit, yours will not be directly affected. Your credit score remains yours, and no matter how bad credit your spouse has, your score will not change.

However, as we have mentioned, it may make it more difficult to apply for credit together.

Will our debts be shared?

Generally, married couples do not inherit debt that occurred before the marriage took place. What we mean by this is that if you have student loan debts when you get married, and your partner has some unpaid credit card debts, those debts remain your sole responsibility. 

You will not be liable for any debts that occurred before the marriage took place. As well as this, you can continue to take out sole credit and as such, incur sole debts.

For example, you can take out a car on finance or get a credit card solely in your name and it will be your sole responsibility

The only time debt will be shared within a marriage is if it is a joint debt. This means that if you ever take out a joint loan or credit card, then you will both be liable for any debt incurred.

As such, if one member of the partnership dies, the other takes on sole responsibility. 

Some States have a law that says both spouses are liable for all debts, even ones that they do not know about. This is known as ‘Community Property’ law and is active in Louisiana, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, Texas, California, Wisconsin, and Washington.

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