What’s Mine is Mine until it becomes Ours when we get married – right?
Not necessarily. To some degree you have a choice on how much you decide to co-mingle when you get married. Maybe you will have a His, Her, and Our bank account. Maybe you’ll never get around to adding their name to the car you bought 4 years ago. The same is true for debt.
As long as you are not a co-debtor, meaning you have not signed any documents claiming responsibility or made any requests for the benefit, then you are not and will not become responsible for any money owed. Pre-marital debt can easily stay His and Her’s. However, this does not mean it will not influence your financial future together.
If your spouse has a lot of debt they will have to face it at some time. They may be able to set up payment plans with their Creditors. Or if not, their paycheck, bank account, or tax return may end up getting garnished. Each of these actions results in a loss of money and financial stability in the household.
Looking forward, if your spouse has poor credit, you both may have to rely on your income and credit alone for bigger purchases such as a new car or a home loan. This is sometimes difficult to do when you are trying to buy a house for a family based only on one person’s information.
Stress over money is often quoted as a leading factor in Divorce cases. It is important that you are going in to your relationship with your eyes wide open. Discuss the matter of finances openly before the wedding bells chime. Not quite ready to say ‘I do” to their financial history? Bankruptcy may be a good option – allowing them to get a fresh start before the two of you start your lives together.
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