As a Los Angeles Bankruptcy Specialist, I get some very interesting questions. Here’s one I can share with you:
“My fiancee has poor credit. I am worried about how this will hurt me if we get married. He’s had a couple of cars repossessed, lots of late payments and he has too much credit card debt. He is willing to file bankruptcy if necessary. I am worried about how this will affect my credit. I also worry his credit will keep us from being able to buy a house. Is there some way he can clear up his credit without bankruptcy? What do you suggest? If he does file, I can’t afford to pay his attorney’s fees, and he has a job, but no real savings to pay a lawyer.” – Thank you, Kay
Thank you for writing to me. I will give you my honest advice. As a Los Angeles Bankruptcy Specialist I have had similar questions before. Your personal concerns are very legitimate.
I certainly think your fiancée should consider bankruptcy. It’s much too late for him to “clear up his credit.” He can’t make the bad stuff in his credit history simply disappear. He has made too many financial promises that he never keeps. He can’t erase the past and suddenly have great credit again. Even if you wrote a check tonight and paid off all the debts for him, his credit will remain terrible. You would be throwing your money away.
- There is no road map to instantly cure years of credit neglect. Bankruptcy is a solution for getting out of debt, but it does not buy instant good credit. After emerging from bankruptcy he won’t have good credit, but he should be out of debt. That would be a refreshing change, wouldn’t it? That said, many people do emerge from bankruptcy and soon regain credit—financing cars and even buying a home. But to make that happen, your fiance has to make himself “credit worthy.” That takes having several years of personal financial stability, steady dependable income, and expenses that are kept under control.
Your fiancée’s debt problems may be a serious burden on you and on your marriage if he does not file bankruptcy. He should resolve his debt issues before you marry—either pay off the debts (without your help), or if he can’t do that then see a bankruptcy lawyer right away. Either way, your fiancé’s poor credit history will impose some kind of financial burden on your marriage. Anything that you want to finance may have to be done on your own credit for some time to come.
Your question makes it clear just how worried you are that his financial problems will spill over on you after marrage. Now I’m going to give you some advice that has nothing to do with law. He has had a couple of cars repossessed. Each of those car loans involved broken promises. Each delinquent credit card represents another broken promise. Marrage is the ultimate promise, isn’t it? I strongly believe that people deserve a second chance. That is what bankruptcy teaches us. It should be a new chance and a fresh start. Your fiance deserves his fresh start, too. I suggest the marrage plans should be postponed until you see what he does with his fresh start.
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