Friday, May 9, 2014

Does My Credit Report Merge With My Husband's or Wife's When We Get Married?

No matter how grim the modern statistics for divorce happen to be, marriage remains a constant in just about everyone's lives. Statistically, by the time you're 55, you have a 95% chance of having been married at least once. Once you're married, keeping your financial life separate from that of your spouse is nearly impossible. There's a lot of folks out there ready to shout from the rooftops that your spouse's credit has no impact on your own, but that isn't entirely true.

Here's the facts: Your credit report absolutely will not merge with your husband's or wife's credit report after marriage. The credit bureaus have enough trouble maintaining accurate reports on individuals. Can you imagine the crapstorm that would ensue if they attempted to merge credit reports? And no, they won't merge your credit reports upon request either, so you can drop that fantasy notion that once you marry someone with excellent credit your poor credit rating will magically shoot up into the stratosphere.  Not gonna happen.

Stay together long enough and share enough joint debt, however, and your credit reports will begin to look frighteningly similar. It's not a true credit merger, but it serves the same purpose. Let me explain:

After marriage, most couples begin accumulating joint accounts. You'll  likely want a joint bank account so that you can both access your money. Most couples who buy a home do so with a joint mortgage to ensure that both parties have a legal claim to the property in the event of a divorce (just for reference, you can put your name on a home's title without your name being on the actual mortgage loan) You're also likely to acquire joint credit cards.

Unless you keep the accounts you held as a single person open, those accounts will gradually "time out" and fall off of your credit report. The credit entries that remain will be the joint accounts that you share with your spouse. The credit bureaus report joint debts to both your credit report and your spouse's. So, although you and your husband or wife's credit report won't merge in the true sense, you can expect your credit records to look extremely similar after several years of building a financial life together.

The gradual merging of credit information rather than the credit reports themselves can either help or hinder your scores. If you happen to marry someone with an abysmal sense of financial responsibility, you'd best be ready to take on the bulk of bill-paying yourself. A single missed payment can wreck serious havoc on you and your spouse's credit scores.

Related Articles:

Do I Owe My Husband's/Wife's Debts Aftter Marriage?

Community Property States and Defaulted Spousal Debt

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