I'm Getting Married to a Man with BAD Credit

Updated on April 24, 2010
C.E. asks from Forest, MS
21 answers

I love my fiancee' very much and cannot wait to marry him. Quik question though. His credit is not swell and he owes out a fair amount of money. That we cannot afford to pay of all of it off. I do not want this to affect me or my credit. I am the only one with credit and I know if this messes it up we will never HAVE anything (house,etc.). What can I do to protect my family and keep his debt away from my credit.

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B.W.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Continue to keep your finances separate, as if you are not married. If he gets on yours, you will be toast. But, frankly, I'd look deeper at this. Why is his credit a wreck? Is he a spendaholic? Since sex, money and in-laws are the biggest causes of divorce, you need to be forewarned. Perhaps, there is a really valid reason such as a long lay off that wasn't his fault. But, if there are character flaws that created this please address those before you marry. Or else, he will be likely to ruin your credit too. Get Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover book. Really good!

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J.R.

answers from Lafayette on

have him clean it up before getting married and make a financial plan to stick to so it doesnt get that far again

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S.N.

answers from Oklahoma City on

C.,
Debt is a serious issue, and it's the biggest reason for most divorces and fights in marriage. What I reccoment before you tie the knot is to have a serious talk with him about money and how serious is he at repairing his credit, and how much debt, if any, are you both comfortable with. I reccomend pre-marital counseling, and most of all, i recommend Dave Ramsey's Finacial Peace University. It's a thirteen week program set up to teach you how to get out of debt, stay out of debt, and build weatlh. It teaches you financial tools you didn't know were out there, and tools you didn't know you had. It's a really amazing program, my husband and I went through it about three years ago, and it's helped us in ways we didn't know it could. You can check it out on Dave's website www.daveramsey.com and find out more about the details, or feel free to email me at [email protected]____.com and I can answer whatever questions you might have about it. It's usually done within local churches, that's the easiest way to take the course, and most of them provide free childcare as well while you're in the classes. It's an awesome progam. I hope this helps.
S.

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D.G.

answers from Fort Smith on

I don't mean to be a downer but I wouldn't do it just because of past experience. Let me tell you what happened to me...... About four years ago I met a man that just seemed to be so perfect but he owed alot of money on his school loans but he had a good job so I was blinded by love so we got married the next year and I had a precious little boy with him. A few months after we got married he got fired from his job and it was a several months before he went back to work and after that he didn't make as much and things were very tight. I had perfect credit when I met him but now I don't because of him. We lost our car and we got so far behind on everything it was just to much. We ended up getting a divorce because all of the financial problems became too much and we fought about it all the time. I almost lost my house over him and now I have to file bankruptcy because of him too...... So needless to say my credit went down the drain. I would hate to see something like this happen to anyone else. Me and my little angel will be fine without him. I hope I don't upset you with this message I'm just trying to help. I wish you the best with whatever you decide.

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C.N.

answers from Baton Rouge on

When you get married, his credit becomes your credit. My husband and I both had some credit issues before we got married, and decided that it was better to put off getting married until we got our credit ratings cleaned up. We lived together for four years and worked on getting bills paid off until we got our credit ratings to the point where we could actually get a loan for a house. We didn't like waiting to get married, but it was the best decision in terms of our future financial picture.

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M.F.

answers from Tulsa on

Hi C.! I will tell you my story, if it helps you, then I am happy that it does. I just want to inform you as best I can so you can make a good, informed decision for yourself.

I was with my ex for almost 10 years. We were married for the last two years of that relationship. When we first started seeing each other, I had asked about his finances. He said that he had made some poor choices in the past but that he had a good handle on them and was resolving them on his own. We kept all of our finances separate, he gave me money each month to pay for his share of bills and household expenses. The money never went far enough as he kept a large portion aside for his debts. We decided we wanted to have a child together and so got married and had our incredible daughter. I discovered one day, as I was going through a file cabinet of his looking for an address for him, a file that was titled "Bills to be Paid." I was thinking to myself, "What is this?" Now I am a VERY trusting person and believed in my ex that he had everything under control. I married him believing this. I looked through it and discovered debt that totaled over $100,000, owed to the IRS, past due child support for his second child, college loans, etc. Freaked me out to say the least. I am a very strict money manager. My credit score is excellent. His, come to find out, is lower than low as you can imagine. I divorced him because of this problem.

During our entire relationship, I got tired of never having money to do anything. We could never take a nice vacation, I could never shop for clothes, could not afford to buy a home, couldn't afford some months to get a haircut! I am not talking extravagant vacations or designer clothes here! I got so tired of working equally as hard or harder than he did, bringing home a good paycheck, and watching it all being put toward bills that I had no part in creating. I just got so tired of it all, no matter how much I loved him. I loved him so very much but after a while, I just got so worn down from it all. Luckily, I had purchased my home before we were married (he couldn't apply for a home loan with me as his credit score was bad, and I had received a large gift from a family member as a down payment), all of our finances were kept separate, etc. When we divorced, I walked away with everything, as I had kept it all separate. This is key!!

I STRONGLY advice you and your fiancee to seek credit counseling. There are organizations that are free, non profit organizations that will help him tremendously. Money is one of those subjects that are so hard to handle along with emotions. You have to separate your heart feelings for him and your brain thought on money matters. You have to treat money like a business. I follow that motto, "It's nothing personal, it's just business." It may seem cold, but there are very few things in life that are so completely impossible to overcome than mountains of debt. It is something that will nag at you and nibble away at your relationship. Hurt feelings happen. Resentment happens.

So, it is a question you have to pose to yourself. Do you want to live this way for the rest of your life? Only you can make that decision, but make the decision based on information. Inform yourself, seek counselors through church, organizations, etc. Gather as much information as you can, then decide. Whatever you decide will be the right decision for you.

Sorry for the long explanation. I believe knowledge is power.

Good luck!!

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L.B.

answers from Jonesboro on

I am sure a lot of people are telling you this, but keep your name and your credit SEPARATE from his...Don't put things in both your names. I was in a similar situation and we put the house in my name, the cars, etc. And my husband worked on getting his credit score up in the meantime. Good luck!

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G.B.

answers from Tulsa on

I think you know him well enough to know what type of financial manager he is. You age is really relative to your situation. If you are both very young then it could just be life experience that is just not there yet, if you are both older, say in your late 20's or 30's then you are both pretty set in your habits of spending and buying.

1. You are not his mother or father, it can backfire on your relationship if you try to "teach" him new habits.

2. What is the money going for and why can't he afford to pay for what he buys? Does he just live above his means? Does he really have a hard time getting a job or not making enough money?

3. I have a couple of friends who got married going into the relationships knowing they would be the bread winners because they had degrees and really good jobs they loved. One took the bill paying on as her job and left him pretty much to do what he wanted with his money, such as paying for cable, his cars and tools to work on them, etc.... The other one sits down on each person's pay days and they pay the bills together with no one being more responsible that the other, it is all "their" money. Both situations work for them. It just takes deciding what you want.

4. Get both of you to a community credit counselor. We found ours at an agency through the local credit agency. We went to classes at the local vo-tech that were set up by the credit counselor, learned to track out money for every penny we spent for a month, the teacher was able to set up payment plans with all the credit cards except Wards to take fees off and let the credit agency make our payments for us, etc...we gave the credit agency a portion of our money each payday and they made the payments, we had to live on the remaining money and it was hard but seeing the credit bills get lower and lower was very rewarding. It was the credit counselors jobs to "get on" to us if our budget was not carried out.

The main thing we got out of the experience was that it could be done, there was one woman there that had divorced and took on all the bills of the marriage. It had been in the mid 30 thousand and she had been working the program for several years and owed less than $10,000 from doing this program. She looked to be in her mid thirties.

If he has student loans then you can file "injured spouse" on your income tax refund. The portion of the money you make can still get a refund and not be touched by the loan companies. I had several thousand dollars in student loans and that is what my husband did each year, he made $50,000+ and I worked for minimum wage, we got all of his tax refund each year because I didn't make really a small percentage of his.

Go into marriage with your eyes open, you know he won't change if these habits aren't addressed. You both need to be able to focus on being happily ever after...not nagging each other about money. Start working on being debt free now. It's never too early in a relationship.

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S.C.

answers from Lafayette on

When I married my husband, I had very little credit (I had just turned 21) and he had bad credit. His bad credit stemmed from a student loan (he wasn't paying it because he sent a check to pay off one of them and the lean holder scratched out the acct # at the bottom and applied it to the other one so that he still had 2 acct's that he had to pay for LONG STORY...). Well, after the IRS took away my income taxes to go towards his loan, I made him take care of it. And he did. We set up a payment plan and paid it off. His dad co-signed a new truck for him and he paid it off. My credit card that I had established, I paid it off. We lived in an apartment until I was 26 and saved enough money to put 5% down on a $215K house. Our credit ratings were both phenomenal.

C., it can be done. I don't know of any way that his credit won't affect yours, but I can tell you how to make his better. Help him pay off his debts. Open a small credit card account under his name with yours as a co-signee. Buy something under $100 and pay it off when the bill comes. Put all utilities in his name (even if you have to put a deposit) and pay them on time every month. This will dramatically help his credit. You can check his credit free once a year.

This is what we did, so I know that this is possible. It takes time, but it can be done. Also, Dave Ramsey is an author to several books on this particular topic. He has a radio show every Sunday to help you to get out of debt and establish credit.

I hope this helps. God Bless.

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V.H.

answers from Mobile on

Like the others say his becomes your credit and if it that bad i would still wate and see whats happen.i had a man like that and he did not change and he all was needed money it got me behind on my bills i help him open a checking account and he started writting bad check right off the bat.i no you love him but you will never get your home or anything else.i sorry i so againse it but it does happen even to the nices people.good luck in what you decide and i will be praying for both of you

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D.H.

answers from Fayetteville on

Hello,

You are right and smart to be concerned. Once you are married, you will go on to develop credit together, and his will bring down yours. My 2nd husband and I did everything to fix my formerly bad credit BEFORE we were married and it has made a huge difference in our financial and thusly our overall health and happiness. It meant paying off my credit cards, fixing some old tax problems and building credit in my name by taking out small loans (at first secure and then non) that I paid back (with the money borrowed out into a savings account) over a 6 month period. It was hard, took discipline and meant we waited a while and had a small wedding, but it was worth it. 5 years later I have amazing credit on my own as well as joint.

Be patient, fix his credit, pay off everything and make sure you have the same spending and saving philosophies and goals. It may seem unimportant, but it can make or break a marraige. Start your life together off in good financial health, you will be thankful that you did.

Good Luck!

D. H

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L.S.

answers from New Orleans on

Getting married does not effect your credit. I was the one with bad credit when we got married two years ago. We had to put things exclusivly in my husbands name for a little while but, we are buy a house this month in both of our names. Over the last 2 years we have worked hard and sacrificed little things to be able to pay more than the minimums on my credit cards and we got a loan to consolidate his credit cards. It has been difficult and we have had fights, but we have worked through our bad financial habits and now are on the same page with the same goals. Get the book "Smart Couples Finish Rich", it is available on I-tunes. This was incredably helpful.
Good Luck & Congratulations!

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C.I.

answers from Fort Smith on

If he has bad credit, there is a reason for it. You really must make sure that he has changed his ways before you two get married. Is he ignoring old debt? That is the same as stealing. People are on the other end not getting paid. Even if it is a credit card or "big company" it trickles down. I suggest really making sure that he is completely open about his finances and he is not living above his means. This is something that you two will need to be very disciplined about. My husband didn't have great credit when we married. We paid off what he owed and he went for a while without a credit card. We now have one credit card account and are disciplined about paying it off completely every month. We both have excellent credit now. Take the time, do it right. Delayed gratification is hard, but worth the wait. If you marry him, you are agreeing to take this on and work together without resenting him. If you want to buy a house, they will check both of your credit scores. I wish you the best.

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T.M.

answers from Enid on

What I have heard and always known, is that once you are married his credit becomes yours. Well that is true, if you both apply for something together. I have discovered that if I apply on my own, that it is just my credit past that is pulled up. It only pulls up the credit from the income that is being used. So if you want to use both of your income, his credit will be included. It does not ruin your credit as an individual. It is when you both apply for something that it will affect it. The reason I know this, is my husband has a medical bankruptcy. When we go for a loan they pull my credit and his and my credit score is higher. If I don't include his income, it only pulls mine. As long as your name is not on any of his debt, it should not affect you as an individual.

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E.P.

answers from New Orleans on

After reading your short bio, it seems that you have been with this man during hia unfortunate financial status. So my advice is to help him re-establish his credit by showing him how to increase his credit rating. In the meantime, you should discuss having a pre-nuptial agreement drawn where you keep your finances separate and retain your maiden name for business purposes. Good luck to the both of you!

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L.J.

answers from Birmingham on

As long as you apply for future items in your name you should be fine on a credit application. The only problem will be that in that case EVERYTHING will be in your name only and you would be responsible for the debt in the event you didn't stay together. Try to be cash and carry. If you can't buy it and pay for it, wait to get it. It's great to reward yourself but try to do the "is it a want or a need" when purchasing items that might be splurge things. You'll appreciate it down the road when you're not in debt and the things you have are paid for.

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C.C.

answers from Chicago on

This is tricky. Before you get married try to have this issue resolved. Get an attorneys advice. Dont get cards in both names. You may need to keep everything in your own name. Maybe even a pre-nump that will protect you from his creditors. He might have to declare bankrupcy or get into a repayment plan ( dont do debt settlement, its a scam and will leave you in a worst situation). Since there are financial issues. You will have to make sure there is a budget that you both stick to. Its easy to get over your head. Make sure he underatands this so he doesnt drag you under with him in the future.

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K.S.

answers from Oklahoma City on

Hi,

I was in the same situation as you, his bad credit didn't affect my credit rating at all. Actually my good credit helped him out some and after 2 years of being married we had a house built, I didn't think we would get approved for a mortgage loan but we did. Just make sure you try to pay all your bills on time thats what we did.

K.

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S.Q.

answers from Jackson on

The laws have changed a bit, but you might want to consider bankruptcy for him if you're talking lots (over 10k). This worked for us, but we still borrowed some money right after the wedding to pay off 2nd mortgage off old house with ex, which we repaid in a year. We bought a house after being married 2 years - oh and paid off his student loans. Everything is in my name for now, but his credit is getting better..he could get some stuff in his name, but the interest rate is sky high. We lived on my modest (real modest) income for about a year after we were married until he finished school and started working. We talk about money a lot now and I pretty much handle the finances - don't use credit cards/debit cards for much and leave both of us an "allowance" of cash for the month for frivilous things..works for us. If you truly love him, you can make the money thing work. His old debt is NOT gonna affect your credit unless you attach your name to those debts.

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M.B.

answers from Baton Rouge on

Hey C.,

My advice is to seek legal advice about protecting yourself. I always swore to marry someone who cared about their credit and debt as much as me. I just figured the reckless people would meet up and that would be their problem. In your case you value your credit but have already fallen in love with someone who did not.

I know once you marry your credit combines and anything that either of you does will be considered the same. I am not sure, but I would think a pre-nuptial agreement that seperates assets prior to marriage would also seperate debt. However I am not sure if even that would protect you from any poor financial choices he makes during the course of the marriage. I would thing community property laws apply to anything aquired during the marriage, therefor if he continues to make unwise decisions, etc. you would be just as responsible for the debt as is the case in most states.

And as much as this sounds not nice or hard to hear, Have you considered post poning the marriage part until he cleans up his credit and pays his debts? There has to be some way he can rectify this over the next year or two. Maybe seeing a debt consolidation specialist. Maybe even filing bankruptcy. Or him getting a second job and paying the debt down.

My only other concern is that you know what you are getting into and love is such a strong emotion to try to be rational... so just make sure if you marry as soon as you are planning, that you adjust your goals of homeownership and all other high price tag possessions by a ten year delay. Also realize that with poor credit scores, you will be paying much more than the next person, due to higher interest rates. This might make some things out of reach. If you can accept this and know fully that this maybe the case for a decade or more, not just a year, then you are better off than those in denial.

But Delayed Gratification is one of the hardest things in life to learn and even harder to accept when you have played by the rules, but are serving someone else's consequence.

Congrats on the little girl and engagement as well as maintianing good credit.

Hope this helps and God Bless
-MB

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B.C.

answers from Alexandria on

Like the others have said do NOT put your name on any of his accounts. That way your credit wont be affected. Also, I would be a little concerned as to why his credit is so bad and that he hasn't been able to get it get it better in the last few years. If it is credit card debt that is something you two need to discuss, since that bad habit could affect you if he were to use your card or open an account with your name on it. You both need to work of getting his debt down, so that his credit score will improve dramatically.
Like someone else suggested, Dave Ramsey has some great books on taking control of your finances. You two should make a budget and just live on the minimal amount necessary and use all your extra money to be getting rid of his debt.

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