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Laura Hunt

Romance & Money

Repairing Your Damaged Credit Past

Plan before you say "I do"

Candice in Longview, Washington:
We have dated for two years and have just become engaged. I own a home and a small business. He has no home, no business, and a worrisome credit history due to a bankruptcy he and his ex-wife experienced five years ago.
He is the love of my life and working hard at repairing his credit. But, are there any precautions I should take before we get married?

Candice, you are wise to plan before you say "I do" again.

There are some steps you should take to protect yourself and the marriage you are entering into.

Together you should draft and discuss a three, five, and ten-year budgeting and financial goals plan. Review and revise this plan often, at least every sixty days.

Before you co-mingle your credit (for ex: a mortgage or car) make certain he is doing everything he can to clean his up. This can take a couple of years. Be patient. Have him order his credit report from one of the three repositories. For example (1-888-397-3742), (1-800-888-4213), or (1-800-378-2732). As of December 1, 2004 Washington residents can get one report free from each of the companies.

This report will serve as a guide for him to know whom he needs to contact to make amends, pay off, cancel, or dispute debts. Until he addresses all his credit issues, you should keep your credit separate from his.

"One can never change the past, only the hold it has on you."
Merle Shain

Another step is to make an appointment with an attorney that specializes in prenuptial law, and consider a prenuptial agreement that addresses your concerns. These agreements are not at all as taboo as they once were. They are becoming more and more acceptable as both spouses these days generally come into a relationship with assets to protect. These are generally for people with children from a prior marriage, a previously owned business, or property to protect. Check with an attorney.

By protecting your good credit and reputation today, you both will enjoy a healthier financial future tomorrow. He, too, will reap the benefits of your proactive steps.

Additional information on this topic:

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