Marriage and bad debt

Getting married might be an exciting time for most people. However, it’s not all wedding parties, but also about the more serious issues related to sharing a life together, like your finances. According to relationship support provider Relate, 25% of people who have been in debt say that it’s had a negative impact on their relationship. So what if your spouse-to-be has bad debt?

Will you take on their debt too?

If your spouse has debt, you won’t take it on just because you’re now married. Whether you’ll have to share it depends on whether the debt is theirs alone, or in both your names. If they’ve taken debt out in their name only, you won’t be responsible for paying it back. If you take on joint debt with your spouse, however, then you may be liable if they’re not able to keep up with their part of the repayment.

Will their debt affect your credit score?

Your spouse’s bad debt shouldn’t have an effect on your own credit score, unless the debt is in both your names. If you’ve taken out a credit agreement together, for example, on a mortgage or joint credit card, then your partner will be listed on your credit report as a financial associate. This means that, even if you apply for new credit for yourself, lenders may look at your partner’s credit history in addition to your own. This could affect your ability to obtain credit, or, if you’re offered a deal, the type of interest rate you’ll get.

Getting help

It’s important that you don’t hide bad debt from your partner. You may want to work together on overcoming the debt issues that you’re facing. Once the bad debt is cleared, you can look at improving your credit score.

If you or your partner require support on managing bad debt, there are a number of charities and organisation that you can contact for free and impartial advice. These include StepChange, the Money Advice Service and National Debtline.

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