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Can credit ratings be protected through a prenup?

Many of our discussions around prenuptial agreements concern three things: 1) whether a party should enter into such an agreement, 2) what things (or assets) should be protected, and 3) what to do if you significant other does not want one.

The impetus behind a prenuptial agreement is separating assets quickly and expeditiously in the event a marriage breaks down, but some people may want a prenup make sure their good credit rating is not harmed by marrying someone who has bad credit. Unfortunately, this is a misnomer. A prenuptial agreement has nothing to do with (and cannot protect) your credit score.

Why? It is simple. Tying the knot has no effect on your credit rating. Consumers' credit scores do not merge once they marry. Indeed, couples' respective credit scores can be considered when completing joint applications, such as home loans or auto loans. This scenario may also apply when a spouse (or significant other) co-signs on a loan. In these situations, a spouse's good credit rating could be affected if a default occurs, or a spouse files for bankruptcy in the midst of a divorce.

Whether this changes a couple's discussion about prenuptial agreements remains to be seen. It may invite a frank discussion about spending habits when a couple gets married. For those who believe a prenup is necessary, it is prudent to meet with an experienced family law attorney to learn more about what can be protected as well as what can be decided in the event of a breakup.

Source:, "Will fiance's old bankruptcy hurt my credit?" Justin Harelik, October 15, 2013

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