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Bankruptcy puts a new light on marriage preparations

You are no doubt looking forward to your wedding day. The invitations have been sent out, and the preparations are actually going smoothly. There is only one little issue: Your groom-to-be has recently declared bankruptcy. How will this affect your marriage?

Credit history questions

You may wonder if the bad credit history your future husband has been carrying around will affect your excellent credit history. You do not have to worry, your credit score is completely separate from his, and it can remain that way.

The issue of sharing

If both your names are on credit cards and car loans, that information will show up on both credit reports. After you are married, you may want to continue keeping your financial life separate from his. This is not an unusual step to take for married couples, especially if they have diverse backgrounds when it comes to income and asset levels.

Going together on the mortgage

One area where you may want more togetherness is the mortgage. You have a couple of options here. If you go together, you can get a larger loan because both your incomes will be counted. However, you may want to consider applying for a mortgage in your name alone. Since you are not adding your husband’s bad credit to the application, you should expect a better interest rate.

Issues to avoid

If your husband has a tax lien, you will probably not want to file a joint tax return because the Internal Revenue Service would get the money it is owed before giving you a tax refund. Also, while the mortgage may be in your name alone, you and your husband may open a household account together to pay expenses, in which case, his creditors could come after property that is actually yours.

Looking ahead

It will likely take your soon-to-be-husband a few years to rebuild his credit. If you find that he is handling his finances responsibly, you can think about joint finances. In the meantime, protect your own financial picture and concentrate on enjoying your upcoming wedding.