Dear Liz: To what extent do you inherit a spouse’s credit score for activity that occurred prior to the marriage? My fiance and I would like to get married soon. However, he has been going through a short-sale process for almost a year. The bank took a long time to review the matter and would not accept the multiple offers. My fiance has recently stopped making the mortgage payments and that has negatively impacted his credit. When we get married, does his credit score activity become incorporated into mine?
Answer: No. Your credit reports and credit scores aren’t combined when you marry.
If you apply for a loan together, both of your credit histories and scores would be taken into account. His bad scores could prevent you from getting approved. If you did get approved, you would probably have to pay a much higher interest rate.
If you do plan to get a mortgage or other loan together down the road, he should start to rehabilitate his scores as soon as his home situation is resolved. He should expect his scores to remain in the poor-to-fair category for at least three years, and it may take as many as seven years to get them into the “excellent” range.