Does my credit affect my spouse's?

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So you're thinking of getting married. Congratulations. Unlike a few people I recommend marriage as long as both partners understand it's a 100%/100% effort to prop up the other party. Marriage, when done right, is a wonderful idea and I support it whether it is simply performance of a civil contract or a deeply spiritual moment signifying the union of two souls as one.

credit scoresWhat is one of the number one destroyers of a happy marriage? Money matters. In fact even strong marriages often have moments of struggle over finances. Usually the conflict is not over how much or how little income there is but rather, regardless of how much or how little income there is, how it is spent.

Recently a question was posed, "does my credit affect my spouse's?"

The answer is NO.

As long as the credit is not join credit, both persons guaranteeing repayment, the credit stays separate. Even if you list your spouse as an authorized user your lack of repayment or lack of timely payments will not affect them. It does not matter if you are not yet married and about to be or if you are married for 30 years. Individual credit, credit you take out in your own name, does not help or harm your spouse's credit any more than it does your neighbor's.

While it is true on a joint credit history examination both people's credit will appear they will also be listed as (B) for borrower and (C) for co-borrower. Some reports may use different codes but the idea is the same. 

You may be wondering, "what if both spouses are on the same credit item?" Glad you asked. That would be indicated as (J) for joint. In the case of join credit then yes, you are both equally affected for the good ... or the negative.

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I started writing on Active Rain in 2006 when I was representing the mortgage industry. I am no longer in that industry and many of the older posts contain outdated information. Please do not contact me for LENDING or MORTGAGE questions but rather contact a licensed mortgage professional from your area. I have always been in marketing and branding and that is still what I do. Thanks for reading!

Comments (5)

Team Honeycutt
Allen Tate - Concord, NC

Interesting blog. You shared good information that should be greatly appreciated by a lot of people.

Mar 13, 2010 04:03 AM
Stephen Kappre
KW Hometown - Mantua, NJ
Helping You Home

Ken I'm trying to nail down the whole authorized user situation. In the past it was effective for changing scores. Then Fair Isaac talked about eliminating altogether, then as recently as June of '09 said they were putting it back in the works since they were effectively able to eliminate the majority of "fraudulently" created authorized user accounts. They want it to effect legitimate accounts. FICO 08 and Beacon 09 - check it out ...

Mar 13, 2010 04:39 AM
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Great stuff Ken.  We all have to be on top of this stuff...  Especially now. 

Mar 13, 2010 01:23 PM
Lou Ludwig
Ludwig & Associates - Boca Raton, FL
Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC


Great post thanks for sharing the information.

Good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Mar 13, 2010 01:30 PM
Matt Grohe
RE/MAX Concepts - Des Moines, IA
Serving the metro since 2003

Ken: Great information. I often get questions on this subject and now will be more knowledgeable.

Mar 13, 2010 03:50 PM