Marriage & Divorce

Credit agencies separate individual credit from joint credit, so as long as you have your own income, you can have your own credit history, even if you take your husband’s last name. When creditors make reports, they are required by law to report information on joint accounts in both of the individual’s names.

So, for example, if you had great credit before you got married but opened joint accounts with your husband and then found out he had bad payment habits, the information from your joint accounts will end up on both your joint report and on your individual credit report.

In most states, you and only you are responsible for the debt acquired on your individual accounts even if you’re married.

If you are currently divorced or just starting down that road, consider the following:

  • Make sure that bills are being paid on time for joint accounts–even if it’s been deemed your (ex) husband’s responsibility. This includes your mortgage, loans, as well as your credit cards.
  • Ask creditors to close your joint accounts, or convert them into new individual accounts under your name. Or, just open new accounts under your name.
  • If you never applied for credit before your marriage and then revert to using your maiden name after your divorce, you may not have any credit history at all under your maiden name. Request that joint account information with your former husband be transferred into an individual account under your maiden name.