You can’t help who you love, right? Unfortunately for some, they find themselves loving and eventually marrying someone with bad credit and debt. Don’t worry though! There are strategies in place that can protect your good credit from being tarnished. Implement these tips to keep yourself in good standing so that you can focus on helping your partner to improve theirs.

I don’t to debt

After saying “I do,” you probably feel as though you and your partner are on one financial team. Regardless, do not add your name to any of your spouse’s debt. Be sure to keep it in their name only. Of course, you can help them pay it off. Ultimately, if they’re debt-free, then it’s better for the whole family. However, you don’t want to add your name to the paperwork because then you could then be held liable.

Two Cents Lifehacker

Solo loans

Your spouse having poor credit can have negative effects during your marriage as well. When it is time to apply for a new loan for the family, you may find yourself having to put it in your name only to try to qualify for a better interest rate. That causes you to be solely responsible for its repayment. You will also qualify for less money on the loan because you will not be able to include your spouse’s income.

State Farm

Hope for the best, plan for the worst

Depending on where you live, you might even consider having a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement introduced. No, they’re not just for celebrities and the wealthy. If you have assets, then you have something to protect. This is especially important when living in a community property state. Of course, you plan to be with your spouse forever, but you should prepare just in case it doesn’t end that way.

New York Law Journal

No I in team

Taking legal precautions to keep yourself from being held liable for your spouse’s debt is the first step. Following that, it is time to help your spouse with their debt. Help them to put a payment plan in motion to tackle the debt and alleviate it. Determine how much of your own funds are you able to throw in the pot as well. Although they may have gotten into debt alone, once you said “I do,” their debt became yours. Even if it isn’t on paper.

Credit.com

Protect, then build

A plan is in motion to help your spouse out of debt. Now it’s time to implement strategies to improve their credit. Since your credit is already in good standing consider adding them as an authorized user. Your good payment history and credit utilization will reflect well on them. Just make sure that you do not give them their own card for the account.

Nerd Wallet