If your partner was kind enough to co-sign for a credit card with you, you'll have a hard time getting her name taken off your credit agreement, even if you actually want her removed. As far as your card issuer will be concerned, you'll both be responsible for your debt until it's paid off.
Chances are you probably needed somebody to co-sign your card application because your credit score wasn't looking too rosy. When your partner signed on the proverbial dotted line, she agreed to take full and equal responsibility for your card debt with you, meaning she would have to make payments if you messed up and couldn't pay your debt. Most lenders wouldn't take your co-signer's name off your account even if your credit score had rocketed since you made your application. As far as card issuers are concerned, it's better to have two people to go after for the money you owe if you do screw up.
If you've got the ready cash, clear your account and close it. Although any previous late payments and arrears will appear on both your and your co-signer's credit files for seven years, your account will show as being settled and closed, meaning the way you manage your finances won't do any further damage to your co-signer. Up your monthly payments to get your debt paid down quicker if you can't afford to wipe it all out at once.
You may be able to apply for a new balance transfer card or a personal loan if your situation has improved since you needed a co-signer. If your credit score is still wanting but hasn't got any worse since you took your card out, you could ask somebody else if they wouldn't mind acting as co-signer on a new card application if you really want to cut financial ties with your current one.
The way you manage your credit card account could have a serious effect on your co-signer's credit score. If you get into trouble and can't pay, she'll have to cover your installments if she doesn't want to see her creditworthiness suffer. You won't be able to save her by filing for bankruptcy either. She'll still be fully responsible for any debt she's put her name to on your behalf.
Michael Roennevig has been a journalist since 2003. He has written on politics, the arts, travel and society for publications such as "The Big Issue" and "Which?" Roennevig holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the Surrey Institute and a postgraduate diploma from the National Council for the Training of Journalists at City College, Brighton.