What to do if my mother, who co-signed on my student loan, filed for bankruptcy to clear several of her debts and my loan but a creditor is now contacting her about it?

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What to do if my mother, who co-signed on my student loan, filed for bankruptcy to clear several of her debts and my loan but a creditor is now contacting her about it?

She filed 5 years ago. Last week she received a letter in the mail from a debt collection agency stating that we still owed for the student loan. On the letter it states that unless we respond within 30 days they will assume the debt is valid. Where should I go next? Send them the bankruptcy paperwork? Hire a debt collection attorney to fight them? I thought this was behind us as I haven’t heard anything in 5 years and now it came up out of the blue and the last thing I want is my bank account frozen or wages garnished.

Asked on March 4, 2015 under Bankruptcy Law, Iowa

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Your mother's bankruptcy was not your bankruptcy: she could possibly discharge *her* obligation to pay your student loan, but that does NOT absolve you of your obligation to pay the loan. Each person who signs, co-signs, or guarantees a loan is treated separately, and the bankruptcy of one has not effect on the obligations of the others.

Besides that, if this was a government-back or -insured student loan, her bankruptcy most likely did not affect it anyway, since it is next-to-impossible to discharage government-backed or -insured student loans in bankruptcy. (Generally, only purely private loans can be discharged.) This also means that it would most likely be ineffective for you to file bankruptcy to discharge the loan.


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