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Can I Sue My Ex-Wife for Student Loan Payments?

Question:

Dear Steve,

I refinanced student loans with my first wife, we got divorced, and now she refuses to pay her share.

Can I sue her to recoup the money I have paid?

What are my options?

Paul

Answer:

Do You Have a Question You'd Like Help With? Contact Debt Coach Damon Day. Click here to reach Damon.

Dear Paul,

This is America; you can sue anyone at any time for any reason. That doesn’t mean you win. Even if you do win, you still have to collect. You can win and lose simultaneously, so get competent legal advice before jumping to sue.

It is not clear if you are talking about federal or private student loans. If this was a federal spousal consolidation loan, there are no good options. The Department of Education allowed spouses to consolidate with no way out. It is a mess.

If these are private student loans and you are a cosigner or guarantor, you are on the hook with your ex-wife to make the payments. If she does not pay, you agreed to accept the responsibility for the loans.

Your options are:

  1. Get Competent Help. Talk to Damon Day or find an attorney licensed to practice law in your state that specializes in the right subject matter. One place to find such an attorney would be to click here.
  2. Blindly Sue Your Ex-Wife. You could file a suit against your ex-wife and hope that it works out well and you win a judgment against her for payments. Without a legal plan in place, this is no better than a crapshoot and could cost you a lot of money.
  3. Attempt to Negotiate With the Lender. One of the things I bet Damon Day would mention to you is the opportunity to settle private loans and get a cosigner release. It is possible, and it might be worth it to you to extract yourself from your ex-wife and this loan.
  4. Do Nothing. If you are willing to take the credit score hit over this bad loan, you could wait to see if the private student loan lender would sue you and deal with things then. Not a great option, but it is a choice some make.
  5. Reach an Amicable Resolution. It would be great if you and your ex-wife could reach some agreement for her to pay her share of the loan payment. Unfortunately, this is probably the least likely outcome but it would be the best.

Please come back and post an update in the comments below to let me know what you decide to do.


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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