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Your Marriage and Credit Scores

People often wonder whether their credit score will change when they get married. The answer is getting married will not change your individual credit score. But there is a relationship between marriage and credit scores under certain circumstances.

Generally, when you tie the knot, each partner retains his or her own credit score. Neither partner’s situation will change if they have good credit or bad credit. You’ll still have a separate credit report and credit history. It’s a common misconception that credits automatically merge when people get married.


When Does Marriage Affect My Credit?

Opening a joint credit account can affect both spouses’ credit. For example, if one partner misses a credit card or mortgage payment, both of your credit scores can go down. On the other hand, both your credit scores can increase if you and your spouse are responsible with your credit. If you get married, that doesn’t automatically make every credit account a joint account (you’d have to jointly apply for a loan or become an authorized user on a credit card account).

Another factor regarding marriage and credit scores is shared credit applications. A lender may perform a hard credit inquiry on each of your accounts if you both apply for a loan, mortgage, or shared credit account. The terms of the agreement may be based on the account with the lowest score. So, even if you have excellent credit, your spouse’s lower credit score can mean paying a higher interest rate on co-signed accounts.

Does Changing My Name Change My Credit Report?

Not really. If you change your name when getting married, that doesn’t mean starting a new credit report. The main impact is that you need to update your information with credit cards, banks, and the credit bureaus. Accounts that are updated will report your changes to Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. Check your check credit reports in about 30 days to see the name change is reflected. This allows time for information to be updated.

What If My Spouse Previously Filed for Bankruptcy?

If your spouse has a past bankruptcy, they may have trouble getting approved for credit. Bankruptcies remain on credit reports for seven to 10 years. That won’t affect your credit unless you have a joint account or a credit account in which they’re an authorized user.

How Is My Credit Affected by Shared Debt?

It’s likely you’ll assume some joint debts after you get married. In “community property” states such as California, couples can opt in to community property rules. Both spouses are then equally responsible for all assets and debts they acquire, whether both spouses are aware of them or not. Other states follow “common law” rules. This means each spouse can assume debts and own property individually, but can also take on joint debts.


Is Merging Credit Accounts a Good Idea?

This is a decision every couple needs to make individually. Reviewing each of your credit histories helps decide the approach to take. By consolidating accounts, you can simplify record keeping and tax preparation. If you choose to merge accounts, keep in mind that each individual will be responsible for the debt they incur on a joint account, a missed payment will negatively affect both your credit scores, and if either spouse misses a payment on an individual account, borrowing jointly may become difficult.


How to Raise Your Credit Score to Benefit Your Spouse

Your credit score is largely impacted by your credit history and whether you pay your bills on time. Making more on-time payments, reducing your debt, and decreasing your credit utilization ratio can increase it. Negative information on your credit report can drive it down. Sometimes this is included due to past details that should have been removed, or a credit bureau was in error.

It can be difficult to address such issues through the dispute resolution process. However, American Credit uses a pre-litigation process to achieve results and raise your credit score. Our process can enable you to qualify for a mortgage, decrease an interest rate on a loan, or satisfy the requirements of an employer as well as leverage some of the relationships between marriage and credit scores. To get started, schedule your free credit repair consultation by calling 855-790-8024 today.