Millions of marriages have been ended by financial disagreements. Millions more have been ended by poor financial decision-making. While marrying someone who has recently declared bankruptcy won't immediately damage your credit score or render you unable to secure certain loans, it may complicate your financial health as time goes on.
You shouldn't feel shy about sharing the details of your financial health with your future spouse. In fact, most financial experts encourage couples to obtain up-to-date credit reports before tying the knot to forestall any surprises or misunderstandings after their nuptials. While your partner's bankruptcy isn't an adequate reason for you to back out of the upcoming marriage, it should serve as a warning sign that he or she may be a poor money manager.
Although marrying someone who filed for bankruptcy in the recent past won't initially affect your credit, you'll need to maintain separate bank accounts and credit facilities to ensure that this remains the case. Even if your credit is excellent, any joint accounts that you open with your new spouse may reflect their poor credit. While your solid credit score may grant your partner access to credit facilities that they otherwise wouldn't be able to use, these products might carry low borrowing limits and high interest rates. If you're looking for cheap credit, you might wish to keep your spouse's name off of your loan applications.
If you choose to leverage your sterling credit history to obtain loans or credit cards for your spouse, be sure to work out a written repayment plan in advance. For the sake of simplicity, this schedule should mirror the actual loan's installment calendar. You'll also want to keep ample reserves of cash on hand in case your spouse becomes unable or unwilling to cover the loan's installments.
In some states, you may be unable to avoid opening joint credit facilities with your spouse. If you're planning on purchasing a home together, your home state's laws may require you to obtain a joint mortgage. If possible, purchase the home on your own before your marriage becomes official to ensure that you're given the best possible interest rate.
If you live in a state that adheres to "community property" laws, you may be held liable for any debts that your spouse accrues during the course of your marriage. Be sure to have a frank discussion with your spouse about these statutes' implications.