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Marrying someone with a past bankruptcy

Marylanders who are planning to hear wedding bells in the near future are increasingly concerned with the financial histories of their spouses-to-be. It is important to know about your future spouse's credit history, especially if that individual has filed for personal bankruptcy in the past. Bankruptcy is not a bad decision in most cases; it allows the filer to move on to a more positive financial future. However, special considerations may be required if you are planning on marrying someone with a bankruptcy in his or her past.

First, it is important to recognize that your spouse's credit score will not affect your credit directly. That is, your credit score belongs to you as an individual, not you as a member of a couple. In fact, the debts that your beloved accumulated before you were married belong exclusively to her. That is the good news.

Unfortunately, if the two of you are applying for a loan together, your spouse's financial history may impact the terms of that agreement. If you are looking to finance a car, for example, your lender might raise your interest rate - or even demand that your spouse is not on the loan at all. This could mean higher monthly payments or even lower buying power.

Experts in the field acknowledge that these financial issues can be overcome, but they urge caution for those who are looking to marry someone with a bankruptcy. New spouses should avoid co-signing for loans higher than $7,500, according to financial gurus, because of the possibility of divorce. Debt that is accumulated jointly - especially with you as the contingency payer - could come back to haunt you if your marriage dissolves.

Financial misgivings should not prevent you from marrying the one you love. Even if your spouse has declared bankruptcy in the past, he or she may have a bright financial future because of modified habits and better education. Keeping yourself informed about the implications of the bankruptcy will help you make wise financial decisions together.

Source:, "Will fiance's old bankruptcy hurt my credit?" Justin Harelik, Oct. 16, 2013

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