Can marrying someone who has filed bankruptcy impact your finances?

When a relationship becomes serious, the couple often starts to carefully consider their finances. After all, a long-term commitment like marriage usually means two people will combine their finances. As you consider both your assets and debts, you may wonder: will your partner’s financial situation affect yours if they filed bankruptcy in the past?

The short answer is: No

The common thought surrounding marriage may be, “what’s mine is yours.” However, that does not mean that your future spouse’s credit becomes yours – or even affects yours.

You have separate credit reports and scores, even when you marry. Getting married also does not automatically mean you become responsible for your spouse’s debt as well, such as student loans. Therefore, your partner’s past bankruptcy filing should not affect your individual finances or your credit score.

However, you must consider the future

The event of marriage will not automatically combine your finances, or lead a future spouse’s past bankruptcy to impact your credit. Even so, getting married means you plan to build a future together. A spouse’s past bankruptcy – and the effect it has on their credit score – may then come into play.

This is especially true if you wish to:

  • Open a joint credit card
  • Buy a house together
  • Make another major purchase

Your spouse’s past bankruptcy can affect these types of investments. For example, mortgage lenders will consider both spouses’ credit scores for a joint mortgage. A past bankruptcy on one report could lead to higher interest rates or perhaps even a denial.

It is important to note that this is not a permanent situation. Your future spouse has many options to build up their credit again. Additionally, bankruptcy only stays on a credit report for a limited number of years – ten years for a Chapter 7 filing, and seven years for a Chapter 13 filing.

It is important to make a plan

The most critical thing to do is address your finances before getting married. Some New Mexico couples delay marriage while they rebuild their financial standing. Others may simply create a financial plan to do so in the early years of their marriage.

Regardless of your strategy, discussing your finances before you exchange vows can help you protect your finances and your future together as a family. It is important to be open and honest, so you both can maintain and improve your financial health.