Married with separate checking accounts

Pay your own debts
Pay your own debts © Cheryl Savan/

Getting into debt is almost always a choice, not an accident, says John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education at The most predictive of all credit-related practices is what you've done in the recent past.

"That means if someone chose to get into debt once, (he) risks doing it again," Ulzheimer says. "While joint checking accounts are not reported on credit reports, they can be mismanaged, just like any credit obligation."

Having individual accounts provides a degree of separation between spouses when one of them hasn't been as responsible with his or her spending habits as the other. Even if the in-debt spouse has every intention of paying off a debt and is working hard to do it, he or she should still maintain a separate account.


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