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My Divorce Decree Says My Ex-Husband is Supposed to Pay His Student Loans. But He’s Not. – Ana

By on March 25, 2010
My Divorce Decree Says My Ex-Husband is Supposed to Pay His Student Loans. But He’s Not. – Ana

“Dear Steve,

In my divorcee decree it states that my ex husband should take a full responsibility for his student loan (that I am a co-signer). 7 years later I got a call from collection agency that he wasn’t paying it. I have no idea where my ex is. What are my options? I do understand that I have no way out of that debt. The original balance was 8K now it came to 18K. Would Sallie Mae (collection agency) settle with me for the original balance considering it wasn’t my loan in the first place? If not, should I take them to the court to try to get a settlement there?

Thank you,

Ana”

Dear Ana,

This is a regrettable but common problem. The divorce decree is an agreement between you and your husband. You can divorce your spouse but not your creditors. If you want him to pay then you need to go after him in court to enforce the agreement.

The tragic reality here is that as a co-signer on the student loan it is your loan and was your loan in the first place. A co-signer accepts FULL responsibility for the loan but gets NONE of the benefit.

You can always talk to a local attorney for specific legal advice about taking Sallie Mae to court but I fail to see what claim you could make since as the co-signer it appears to be your contractual obligation to repay the loan.

Can you offer Sallie Mae a lump-sum cash settlement? Sure, but remember they don’t have to accept it, but it does not hurt to ask. Just make sure you have the cash to pay the full settlement immediately if they accept and get the offer in writing before you pay.

When it comes to worst kind of debt to owe, student loans are right at the top of the list. When a student loan debt goes delinquent a 40% collection fee can be added on top of the original balance. Sallie Mae loans are horrible as well since Sallie Mae has none of the beneficial payment plans that are offered to government backed student loans.

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About Steve Rhode

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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