Can Joint Credit Hurt You Later?
According to the Center For Disease Control in Atlanta, most people reading something today regarding joint marital finances, are already divorced. It’s just a proven statistic. So when you tie the knot and take that vow of “till death do us part,” that isn’t reality for half the people in the world. What does this mean for you and your credit? Basically, there’s a 50% chance that you may have to endure the process of separating yourself from your ex-spouse’s credit. This is something very tough to do . Why? Because a creditor does not recognize the court’s assignment of debt responsibility. So when you’re standing there in court or in the lawyer’s office agreeing on the terms of a divorce, there’s one very important party missing that many people fail to recognize: the credit lenders. Just because you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse agree that one of you will pay the Visa while the other pays the MasterCard, it means nothing to the lender and is as worthless in their eyes as the paper it’s printed on. So even though you’re married and as a married couple you should share mostly everything, you should not share credit. This is something you should keep independent. It has nothing to do with whether or not you love the other person, or trust or whether you think your marriage will last or not. It’s just about being practical.
However, there are some exceptions. If you need two incomes to qualify for a home loan then both of you will have to sign the promissory note and be legally obligated to pay back the debt. Same thing goes for a car loan, if need be. But to argue that even further, if you need two incomes to qualify for a car loan, then you’re buying too much car.
There is no real benefit for jointly applying for credit cards anyway. You can easily add your spouse as an “authorized user” on your existing cards (and vice versa) if you really want the two of you to have access to the same cards. That’s what my wife and I do and it works perfectly for us. This could go on and on, but the bottom line is, when you make that commitment to someone else as well as all their baggage, remain independent as far as your credit goes. It’s for your own good.