Will my future husband's student loan debt affect my credit? - Ask MMI

Ask the Experts: Will my fiance's student debt affect my credit?

My fiancé has a student loan from almost 10 years ago totaling about $13,000. He has never made any payments on the loan but receives letters from the Department of Education all the time asking for payment in full. I don't want my credit to be messed up because of this but we are not sure where to start. They have never threatened to garnish his wages, but they call all the time. He is under the impression that it is off his credit because it has been over seven years. Also, he thinks that if he starts to make payments then they will report him to the credit bureaus. Can you either dispel or confirm these situations? – Pat

Pat, 

I am glad you wrote today, because your future husband’s assumptions are incorrect. 

The government is steadfast in their determination to collect. The government will withhold tax refunds and garnish wages to repay monies owed. It is only a matter of time. After you marry, this may affect your joint tax refunds. It will most likely remain on his credit report for up to seven years after it is fully paid.

He should immediately contact the Department of Education or the servicer handling his student loan. Luckily, there are new programs available to help student loan borrowers, so he may qualify to have a portion of the debt forgiven. 

I applaud your open communication with your future spouse. Too often, this type of issue only surfaces after the wedding, causing unnecessary problems. I encourage you to continue this level good communication throughout your marriage. In fact, we have a free eBook that you and your future hubby may enjoy reading that discusses the topic of love and money in detail. 

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

Ask the Experts

Need help understanding your student loans?  Unsure what programs are available to help you pay back your debt and get your finances in order?  MMI now offers student loan counseling.  Our trained counselors can help you understand your options and create a plan to get your student loan debt under control.  Visit our Student Loan Counseling page for more details.

Jessica Horton is a former copywriter and community manager at MMI.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
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