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Managing the potential issues with marriage and bankruptcy

If engaged, you are no doubt looking forward to planning the wedding. However, you may hesitate to set the date because your intended has declared bankruptcy.

How will this affect you? Is the proposed marriage in jeopardy? Will bankruptcy be a dealbreaker?

Dispelling a myth

Remember, your credit score is yours alone. It is separate from your future spouse’s credit score, and you can keep it that way. The idea that his bad credit history could affect yours probably arises because some couples fully share finances and their credit reports overlap.

Issues with sharing credit

You and your future spouse can keep separate bank accounts, retirement accounts, credit cards and car loans. This is a common practice for married couples today, especially if one party brings in more income than the other. However, you may want to apply for a mortgage together. Because a lender would consider both your incomes, you would probably qualify for a larger loan. If you apply for the mortgage on your own, though, you would likely get a better interest rate because your spouse’s bad credit history would not be a consideration.

In favor of delay

If your intended has filed Chapter 7, bankruptcy may not discharge all his debts. If he filed Chapter 13, he will handle discharging his debts through a payment plan. If you delay the wedding until the bankruptcy is final, you will know exactly where the debt matter stands and how that affects his financial contributions to the marriage.

Going ahead with plans

If you know your fiancé is Mr. Right, the wedding should still be on. If you take precautions to protect your personal credit and use common sense to manage your finances, the bankruptcy should have no detrimental effect on your marriage, your happiness or peace of mind. Give your husband time to prove he has learned to handle finances well. Once he has rebuilt his credit, you can consider combining it with yours as time goes by.