So you have your act together and are in control of your finances, but your soon-to-be spouse doesn’t. So when you say your vows for richer or poorer to one another then that means you are excepting the other’s finances and debt. If you are worried then here are some ways to protect yourself when you are marrying someone with debt.
- Being married means you are a team. You should work together to help each other overcome past financial mistakes. The both of you should sit down and go over what debt each of you have so that the both of you know where you’ll stand financially.
- Even if you are married your credit history remains separate from your spouse’s. Only if there are accounts such as credit cards, car loans, mortgage, bank accounts etc… in your name and your spouse’s as a joint account then it won’t impact your credit report. Both parties are responsible for their debt. When you have a joint account with your spouse and your spouse doesn’t pay the debt/bill you are held responsible. If you don’t pay the bill, it will reflect on your credit report. There are Common Law States/Community Property States which Include AZ, CA, LA, NV, NW, TX, WA, and WI. So what does these mean? If you live in one of these states during a divorce then you both decide who owns what that was acquired during your marriage. It is also referred to as marital property. Now if the property is in only one person’s name it belongs to that person and they do not have to split it among the assets. Say for example, if the house is only in the wife’s name, the husband cannot take ownership of it. If it is in both the wife’s and husband’s name then they have to decide to either sale or figure out who gets to keep the house.
- Get a prenuptial agreement. Specify what debt belongs to which spouse. This is not a contract your signing because you think your marriage will end in a divorce. It is just to protect you and the assets that you have before you say I do.
- Share with one another your financial past. Money is one of the top martial arguments and reasons why people divorce. Reviewing your credit reports together is a good idea to see where each of you stand financially. Pull reports from all 3 credit bureaus and see what accounts need to be tackled first to help raise credit scores and which accounts might be inaccurate and fix them. You are allowed to get your credit report for free one time per year.
- What’s the rush? It is not a bad idea to put off getting married until each of you or your soon-to-be spouse has their finances in order. Start the marriage off to a good start financially. Before you walk down the aisle to say I do make sure that you have a conversation about each other’s debt and why they have it. Some of the debt could be tied emotionally. For example, some people feel the need to go shopping to help with depression or to mask what is really going on with them. Some people shop to make themselves feel good. Hopefully, your soon-to-be spouse doesn’t say that they went shopping because the credit card company gave them a large credit line. That should be a red flag that they are not financially fit and responsible.
Remember, before you say I-do look at what it might be costing you. We hope this post helped you and if you have any suggestions for feedback please leave us a comment in the comment section below.