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Till Credit Do We Part?

After years of tough economic recession, those still possessing a good credit rating are in an enviable position. Loan applications, rental agreements and even job applications are tied to your credit rating. Before, during and after marriage — what role does your credit rating play?

If considering marriage, many people are not shy about asking about credit ratings. A recent New York Times article discusses credit scores as the gateway to a more serious dating relationship. Given the necessity of good credit ratings to obtain favorable mortgage financing, understanding how a prospective partner handles money may be key to your future financial state should you marry.

Even in a stable, long-term marriage, maintaining an individual credit rating is important. Talking frequently and frankly about financial matters, loan rates, and investment and retirement accounts is crucial for both partners. Financial ignorance is costly in the face of divorce or untimely death.

Credit ratings can be deeply affected during an acrimonious divorce process. Spouses with poor credit ratings may run up credit accounts at the end of marriage, leaving their partners half liable for the damage. Despite legal divorce agreements, if your partner defaults on an agreed-upon payment, you are liable. If considering divorce, close all joint accounts as quickly as possible and routinely monitor your credit report.

If you are considering remarriage, consider a prenuptial agreement to define and protect your assets, your children’s inheritance and your credit rating.

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