Dealing With Spousal Debt

Newlywed DebtBeing a newlywed is full of the bliss of being with the one you love, which includes bringing their life together with yours.  That also includes their financial situation.  Unfortunately for some, it means introducing debt into their brand new life. Money is a big stressor on marriages, but before you panic at the idea of debt tarnishing your new life together, take some time to consider a few things.

It’s important that you know about the debt early on so you can take steps to handle the problem as soon as possible. After all, marriage is about trust and understanding.  Marriage does indeed change everything about a person’s financial standing.  Depending upon your living conditions before marriage, you may still be used to handling your finances as an individual.  But now you’re sharing your life, so it’s time to start sharing your plans on money.  This may actually continue within your marriage; your spouse uses the money brought in through their occupation to handle the debt while you handle other financial areas of the marriage.

Remember that debt accrued by your partner essentially remains theirs until you put your name into the mix. For example, a loan under their name remains their responsibility by law unless you help to refinance it.  Credit card histories also do not suddenly merge after you marry.  Only things you do together, such as purchase a house, become the responsibility of both.

As for handling the debt, ultimately it is up to the decisions made by you and your spouse.  It comes down to your financial planning and how you want to manage the debt.  Will both of you help pay it down?  Just one person?  Take some time to sit down with your partner and talk about the debt, your income, and what steps should be taken in order to remove the debt from both your lives. Once you discuss the matter, it can be appropriately handled and eventually you will see the debt go down until it disappears completely.

If you still find that you have problems, you can always go to a credit counselor or other debt counselor to see if there are ways to reduce loan amounts, interest rates, and improve your budgeting skills.  Remember, your partner doesn’t want to be in debt anymore than you do and will need your love and support.  Don’t let money get in the way of your happiness when it doesn’t have to!

Do you have any helpful recommendations for our readers facing their partner’s debt?  We’d love for you to share your advice in a comment!

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