Getting married is an important life event and comes with many considerations. Will you share a bank account? How will you handle household expenses? When will you start a family? Do you both dream of owning a home? Financially literate individuals may even ask themselves, what happens to credit when you get married?

Your credit score does not change when you get married. It does not merge with your soon-to-be husband or wife when you get married. You each keep your own credit history and credit score, which are linked to your individual social security numbers. Your score will not be affected because you’re officially married, even if your spouse’s credit score is different than yours — the three major credit bureaus don’t include marital status in their credit files.

Only after you start applying for credit cards or loans together will your credit be affected for better or worse. Here’s more about what happens to credit when you get married.

Impacts on your credit differ

Each of you come into the marriage with individual credit histories. You can pool your credit to obtain loans together and share in the costs but be cautious — any late payments or delinquencies on joint loan or credit accounts will affect you both. On the other hand, good financial habits, like making payments on time and not keeping high balances on your credit cards, will improve both your credit scores simultaneously.

If you have excellent credit, but your spouse has a previous delinquency or previously filed for bankruptcy, the spouse’s poor credit history will not affect your credit score — but it could affect your chances of getting a joint loan. When you apply together, the financial institution will consider both credit histories before they approve a loan. If one spouse has an excellent credit history and the other has a poor or fair one, the issuer may charge you a higher interest rate to make up for the risk. In the case where one partner has a previous bankruptcy, you may even get denied for a loan.

The workaround to qualifying for a credit or loan product when one spouse has poor credit is to have the partner with the higher credit score apply individually. If it’s a credit card product, you can add your spouse as an authorized user on your account after you’re approved. You’ll be responsible for keeping the card paid on time, but adding your spouse to your account as an authorized user can also help improve their credit score over time since the account will usually also be reported on their credit history — check with the issuer to make sure.

Take note — the workaround of applying individually for a loan or credit product won’t work in community property states. The states of Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin will look at some of the application details (e.g., income or credit) of both parties, even if only one spouse applies for a loan or credit. The reason is that both spouses residing in a community property state are legally responsible for the debts they incur while they’re married.

Talk about credit before you get married

Couples who are planning to build a life together should have a detailed conversation about finances and credit before they move forward to tie the knot. Money disagreements are the main reason for divorce and for a good reason — if two people can’t agree on spending and finances, it could negatively affect both of their financial futures.

Couples should order their credit reports and review them with their partners. They should talk about their financial goals, such as homeownership and investments and how their current spending habits can be improved. It’s easier to come to an agreement and make a plan for the future together when you’re not facing any pressures from debt. If you’re having trouble seeing eye to eye as a couple when it comes to finances, or you’re unsure how to move forward if one or both of you have debt or credit history problems, consider attending financial literacy classes and debt counseling together.

As mentioned, getting married won’t affect your credit score. Your spouse’s credit past may affect your credit and loan options in the future for better or worse, but creating a plan together to improve your credit as a team will help you look more attractive to lenders.

There’s not much you can do about past money mistakes, but the financial steps you take together as a married couple can make all the difference. Setting a shared budget and saving for important milestones like buying a house together, having emergency savings and growing your retirement funds can be doubly rewarding when you work together.