Jun
08
2011

Maintaining good credit after you are married

Dear Experian,

I’m going to be married soon. Will my credit be mixed with my husband’s? What should we do to make sure we keep our good credit after the wedding?

- MHO

 

Dear MHO,

Congratulations! June is one of the most popular months for weddings, so your question could not have had better timing.

Your credit history will not be mixed with your new husband’s. Everyone has their own, separate credit report. Only if your name is on the account will it be reported in your credit history. However, as a married couple, any new credit you apply for together, or individually, could affect each other.

Here are some things to be aware of after you exchange vows:

  • Some states have community property laws that might make you responsible for any debts acquired after the marriage, even if your name is not on the account. Check with your state’s attorney general’s office to find out if a community property law applies and what it requires.
  • The holders of joint accounts share equal responsibility for the debt, and the accounts will appear on both your credit report and his. If he charges up to the limit on the account or doesn’t make payments it will hurt your credit history as well as his.
  • If possible, have one or two individual accounts in your name, or be the primary account holder on a couple of your joint accounts. Doing so can be important to maintaining or reestablishing your credit history if something were to happen to your husband.
  • If you haven’t done so already, share your credit histories and talk about your credit management styles — and keep talking after the wedding. Communication is essential in a marriage. Agreeing on how to manage your finances before the wedding can help lay the foundation for a positive financial relationship throughout your marriage.

Thanks for asking.

- The “Ask Experian” team

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