My Ex-Husband Screwed Me Over With My Student Loans


Dear Steve,

I paid on consolidated student loans for 10 years religiously. My ex was very shady with money and never paid my loan off (he controlled the finances) as I demanded when we were married and I was making ridiculous $$.

It was my goal to pay off 14k I graduated with in 10 years.

I just found out he placed them in forbearance in 2005 without my knowledge while we were still married.

We were divorced in Jan 0f 2008. I did not contest our divorce and never knew as he hid this from me that I even had loans outstanding.

I am remarried and in 2015 I had a tax return offset. No info was avail and I could not get any details from Dept of Ed or anyone.

They have offset over 22k and counting in returns and finally, I received a 1099 E this year.

There was also one they said they sent but I didn’t get for interest from 2018 all totaling over 5k interest paid.

I now have to amend my 2018 taxes and my new spouse has been injured all along bc of this.

I am so angry bc no one can tell me or provide me with what I actually owed and why this never showed up on my credit or wage garnishment etc until almost 15 years later.

It’s a real mess and I am about to reopen my divorce as I am certain he hid this and a lot of other assets. I still owe (according to them) 9k and this is crazy bc it’s so much over what I ever even borrowed for college or what I truly owed after 10 years of paying them.

What can or should I do to get this resolved I don’t want to amend 5 years of taxes. I did bury my head when the returns started being taken bc I just knew it wouldn’t be but a couple of thousand dollars if that much and figured it would be resolved and I could move on.

That was until they kept taking money to the tune of nearly 25k. And until this year none of it showed up on any radar or on the website that that shows your student loan debt.

I am so annoyed but need help on what the best steps to take are to rectify this and get back what they are not as well as satisfy what I did and no more.

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I dont think I should owe interest when they could have found me and or made me aware of the efforts to collect in a direct way like now garnishments etc. I hope you can help.

Is Omsbudsman truly an effect and objective option? Do I need a lawyer or can I get somewhere with asking them to show me the proof of the debt outstanding?



Dear Nic,

Clearly, you have some federal student loans because that’s how your tax return was intercepted. The intercept can be addressed by doing this.

The definitive and authoritative repository of information on federal student loan debt is to look at what is being reported by logging into the National Students Loan Data System (NSDLS). That system will not report any information on private student loans.

Your ex-husband was a scoundrel. Not even the 100th time I’ve heard from people with similar experiences.

Since a federal student loan general forbearance can’t be granted for longer than 12 months at a time, and a cumulative limit of three years. – Source

When the forbearance expired your loan went into default.

I suspect the student loan servicing companies do not have your correct address so you were not getting timely notices on your account. For all we know, your ex-husband may have changed the address to leave you in the dark.

I’m afraid the outlook is not awesome for the federal loans and getting some relief from all that is now owed. A failure to pay a federal student loan is not a defense no matter who might have done what with your account. The student loan debtor is always on the hook.

However, You Can Do This

We can’t fix the past on the federal loans, no matter who you complain to. However, we can prevent wage garnishment and stop further tax refund intercepts by getting your federal student loan in a rehabilitation program. Read this.

I have a sneaking suspicion you may have one or more private student loans as well. I would urge you to check your credit reports and monitor your credit scores. Keep in mind you will need to check all three credit reports. All debts are not reported on all credit reports.

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You do have the option of going after your ex-husband and take him back to court to attempt to get him to pay up for his actions.

I think what you actually received was a 1098-E. When it comes to amending your tax returns for the 1098-E, that’s up to you and your tax adviser. It should not result in any more tax owed.

Debts owed to the federal government have no expiration date and unless you deal with this now it can eventually lead to your Social Security check being garnished.

The infuriating thing is if you thought he was making the standard 10-year payment they would have been paid off by now. Instead, you are going to owe the unpaid balance, plus interest, plus collection fees.


You are not alone. I'm here to help. There is no need to suffer in silence. We can get through this. Tomorrow can be better than today. Don't give up.

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Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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