What is my level of responsibility as a co-signor for a student loan?

UPDATED: Feb 2, 2012

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What is my level of responsibility as a co-signor for a student loan?

Primary has defaulted on 1st payment. I believe this default is deliberate. Bank sent me a bill with penalty. Per an earlier document Primary sent me, due date was in 2 years. How’s it possible to change due date without my knowledge? Bank rep told me primary is not answering calls. Is that sufficient effort from the bank’s side? Don’t they try to see if he is working & garnish from his wages and/or assets before coming after me? If I start minimum payments will bank occasionally check on primary’s ability to pay in future? Do they have to (by law)? What recourse do I have?

Asked on February 2, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, California


Trevor Clement / Law Office of Trevor A. Clement, LLC

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Your liability is full, complete and equal to that of the primary signer.  That means they can go after you as if you were the only person on the loan.  In fact, if you have money and the primary does not, they may not even bother going after him and may just go after you.

If you start making payments, the bank will leave you alone, but they will not look for the primary.  So long as the payments are coming in, they don't care where they are coming from.

It's impossible to comment on the acceleration of the due date without looking at the actual loan documents.  Most likely, the 2 year abayance was due to some kind of deferment that the primary isn't eligible for anymore.

Your recourses are minimal.  You signed paperwork saying that you'd pay the loan if the primary didn't.  He didn't and now you're being held to your responsibility.  The bank has every right to go after you.  Sadly, even filing bankruptcy can't get rid of most student loans.

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