Debt consolidation and marriage

Ask the Experts: I'm married but I only want to consolidate MY debt - can I?

Can I consolidate debt as an individual if I'm married? I don't want to affect my wife’s credit score. And would the IRS be one of the creditors I can consolidate? – Camron

Hi Camron,

Joint finances can be a little complicated, especially because different states have different laws which could potentially change who’s responsible for what.

Generally speaking, however, if you opened a credit or loan account on your own (meaning yours is the only name appearing on the documentation and you’re the only one who signed the agreement), either before or during marriage, it usually is not listed on your spouse’s credit report. Again, it will depend on the state where you live.

So if you have debts where your wife is not a co-signer and you choose to close and payoff those accounts through some form of consolidation loan or debt management plan, your wife’s credit score should most likely be unaffected.

If any of the debts in question are in your spouse’s name, on the other hand, then any attempt to consolidate or settle those debts would impact their credit and would very likely require their authorization to complete.

If you have issues with unpaid taxes, your best bet is to speak with a qualified accountant to discuss your options. If you are opening an unsecured consolidation loan in the hopes of using those funds to repay some form of tax debt, you may be better off discussing a repayment plan directly with the IRS. The loan funds could be used to repay the tax debt, but you should still weigh the terms of the loan versus the terms of a potential repayment plan first.

Good luck!

Jesse Campbell photo.

Jesse Campbell is the Content Manager at MMI, with over ten years of experience creating valuable educational materials that help families through everyday and extraordinary financial challenges.

  • Better Business Bureau A+ rating Better Business Bureau
    MMI is proud to have achieved an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), a nonprofit organization focused on promoting and improving marketplace trust. The BBB investigates charges of fraud against both consumers and businesses, sets standards for truthfulness in advertising, and evaluates the trustworthiness of businesses and charities, providing a score from A+ (highest) to F (lowest).
  • Candid GuideStar Gold Transparency level 2022 Candid
    MMI has achieved a Gold Seal of Transparency by Candid (formerly GuideStar), a leading source for insights on thousands of nonprofit organizations. For decades, Candid has provided data that powers hundreds of websites, programs, and applications related to philanthropic giving in order to help grantors make informed decisions.
  • Trustpilot Trustpilot
    MMI is rated as “Excellent” (4.9/5) by reviewers on Trustpilot, a global, online consumer review platform dedicated to openness and transparency. Since 2007, Trustpilot has received over 116 million customer reviews for nearly 500,000 different websites and businesses. See what others are saying about the work we do.
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development - Equal Housing Opportunity Department of Housing and Urban Development
    MMI is certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide consumer housing counseling. The mission of HUD is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD provides support services directly and through approved, local agencies like MMI.
  • Council on Accreditation Council On Accreditation
    MMI is proudly accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA), an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. COA’s thorough, peer-reviewed accreditation process is designed to ensure that organizations like MMI are providing the highest standard of service and support for clients and employees alike.
  • National Foundation for Credit Counseling National Foundation for Credit Counseling
    MMI is a longstanding member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), the nation’s largest nonprofit financial counseling organization. Founded in 1951, the NFCC’s mission is to promote financially responsible behavior and help member organizations like MMI deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.