What are a co-signer’s rights if the other co-signer fails to make payments regarding a student loan?

UPDATED: Mar 5, 2011

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What are a co-signer’s rights if the other co-signer fails to make payments regarding a student loan?

I co-signed a $20k student loan for my nephew 3 years ago. Despite inheriting $50k from his father’s estate last year, he has not made any student loan payments. I have made $4k in payments so far. Is it possible to get a judgement against my nephew to not only reimburses me for the payments that I’ve made, but also forces my nephew to set aside funds for future loan payments? Is there a limited time period in which I can pursue legal action?

Asked on March 5, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

1) As a cosigner, you can sue the other signer for the contributions he should have made under the loan, so this something you should definitely pursue. No legal case is certain, but there are grounds for this, and you should consult with an attorney.

2) You *may* be able to get an injunction requiring him to make future payments. It's not a given, but it would be worthwhile to discuss with your lawyer and possible add to the complaint, as long as you'll be suing your nephew anyway.

3) You most likely have 5 years from when your nephew failed to pay--treating it as an oral agreement between you that he would be the one to make the payments. It's possible you might have as long as 10 years, if the loan agreement itself is treated as the basis for the suit (written contract). There is no reason to delay or hesitate, however.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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