Learning About Finance Topics

Marrying Someone With Bad Credit? How To Minimize The Impact

by Laurie Washington

Two people who decide to get married are starting a new chapter as a family unit — one with new legal rights and responsibilities. But what happens when your new spouse brings with them a poor credit history? How can you help minimize the potential damage to your own credit and your shared finances? Here are a few key steps to take.

1. Protect Your Own Score

The good news is that your own credit score will be unaffected by your spouse's so long as you don't take on credit jointly. Having one partner with clean credit will help the family continue to go about their daily lives while awaiting a solution for the other partner's history. Work proactively to protect your good score through wise debt choices, monitoring, and taking steps to boost your score. 

2. Form a Plan Together

Now that you're a married family, tackle the problem of bad credit as a couple. This doesn't necessarily mean that you must pay off their debts, but it does mean that you both should be on the same page about the path to a solution. One of the best ways to ensure this is to work with an objective third party who can help you find — and implement — a method you both can agree on. 

3. Focus on Credit Repair

Rather than taking on new debt or shuffling around the existing debts, focus your joint efforts on repairing your spouse's credit history first. This is a good time to take on some austerity and live on a 'cash diet' for a while. Doing so helps prevent you from adding to the problem, protects your own score, and gives you the most leeway about solutions to raise the low score. 

4. Be Patient

Fixing credit problems can take some time. The more patient you are, the better you can make your finances before taking on new obligations. Like people who go on so-called 'crash diets' to lose weight, many people who try to resolve deep-seated credit issues with a quick fix — such as loan consolidation — only end up in worse situations later on. Instead, support each other as a couple and be determined to solve your financial challenges the right way. 

As you follow these few steps, you're already on the right track to solving any credit issues by either spouse, and that will undoubtedly help get your marriage off to the best start possible. Reach out to a company like Total Credit Solutions to learn more.