Is it possible to really repair your credit?

I’ve been a member of this blog for some time now and I am thankfully to read each new post and reply because they hold some small shimmer of hope for me. I am 34, married with four children. I have been out of work since Jan. 2007 and my husband just filed bankruptcy (ch.13). I did not file. In 1997 I had a discharged chapter 7.To be quite honest, my husband and I have a rocky marriage at best.

And I really feel like I need to concentrate on becoming a more responsible adult and clean up my credit so that in a year or three from now I’ll be able to have nicer things for myself / my children should my husband and I divorce. The only problem with that is … I don’t even know where to begin.

In 2006 I had my youngest son. My husband never turned in the paperwork to have him added to our insurance so … now I have a HUGE dr. bill on my credit report. In 2001 I had emergency gall bladder surgery THE DAY my health insurance kicked in. I have been trying to get that paid for for… years to no avail. That is alone $10,000 or better.

There are a lot of small items such as utilities (all the bills are in my husband’s name) and I do have one auto repossession. They want me to make payments on a $4000 – $5,000 debt on the car (the majority of which is INTEREST). Other than that, that’s all I have on my credit report.

I would like to lease a vehicle within the next year but I don’t even know where to BEGIN to clean up my credit. I have had a very hard time getting my credit report from Equifax and Transunion. They ask security questions that I honestly don’t know the answers to and then when you call their customer service department you get someone from India or Pakistan and you can’t understand a word they say nor can they understand you!

I know that my highest credit score as of three weeks ago was 569 and my lowest was 498 – luckily I just applied for a loan and they were nice enough to give me my scores.

Is there hope for me?? If I go back to work within the next month is it possible to get these things paid down quickly (yay economic stimulus package!) and nurse my credit score back to health? If so, are there any suggestions for doing so??? I’d like to try and lease a car by winter for dependability issues.

Thanks for your help and advice in advance. You guys are all great!