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Home > Ask The Get Out of Debt Experts > I Am the Victim of a Student Loan Consolidation Clerical Error. – Angel

I Am the Victim of a Student Loan Consolidation Clerical Error. – Angel

“Dear Steve,

About 10 years ago my ex husband and I consolidated our individual student loans together, in 2006 his name dropped off the debt.

I have all of the original paperwork showing the loans he incurred along with my loans and the paperwork we signed showing each of us as signers once the loans were merged.

It is also in the divorce decree how the loans should be split to reflect the original percentage we each brought into the consolidation.

I have tried going to court to have his name put back on, I have filed bankruptcy showing this is a hardship, I have spent 2.5 years calling a number provided to see if they could figure out how to put his name back on the loan.

This is Direct Loans clerical error, but now the loans fall solely on me as to them if they can not figure out how to get his name back on the loans as far as they are concerned he is no longer part of the loans and can not speak to them directly to make any payments or to find out any information.

Is there any way to either have the consolidation split up to the amounts prior to the consolidation or a way to force them to honor the original agreement as per the paperwork?

I know I am not the only person this has happened to since spousal laws changed in 2006, I also know others this has happened to with those that have consolidated with their parents.

It seems highly unfair to have a joint loan signed and one of the signers is able to be released from a debt due to a clerical error that nobody can figure out how to correct, this has cost me thousands in court costs along with a credit nightmare.

One of my last courses of actions would be divorce court to ask for his wages to be garnished, however, since he has been on several phone calls with me to Direct Loans and has been to some court appearances with me I am hesitant to garnish his wages or even spend the additional costs to go back into court more than I have already incurred trying to fight t his, to date he has not incurred any of the costs trying to fight this.

In recap we brought our individual loans into a consolidation loan because we were still in school, 4 years after the consolidation his name dropped off, it has now been 5 years and even with paper work showing our individual loans and our signatures on the consolidation they still can not help me fix their clerical issues, nor will they help me go after his wages so I do not have to incur further debt trying to get the loans paid off. Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Angel”

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The Answer

Dear Angel,

It certainly sounds like an unfortunate situation. But I’m curious, even if they got his name back on the loans you would still be equally liable for them as joint account holders.

I don’t see them unwinding this back to before you consolidated the debt.

Have you considered getting a legal agreement between you and your ex-husband that identifies how much of the debt he’s responsible for?

But if you have not done it already, it’s probably time to talk to the Federal Student Aid Ombudsman office. You can find everything you need here to ask them to review your issue.

The Federal Student Aid Ombudsman Group is where individuals can turn after trying other ways to resolve a federal student aid dispute. Assistance request are generated from phone calls, letters and e-mails, and are classified as either general assistance or research problem assistance.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

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About Steve Rhode

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.
  • Angel

    Thank you Steve,

    The document that we have that shows he owes 2/3rds and I owe 1/3rd of the total loan including interest that accumulates is under the divorce decree.  It also states in the divorce decree that there should be a life insurance policy on the amount due which I know he doesn’t have, this was to alleviate any undo hardship on the other party should something happen to one of us prior to the loan being paid off.  If his name is put back on the loan, then he would have no excuse why he is not able to make payments, and if there is a default, they can garnish his taxes, freeze his bank account, or garnish his wages, right now everything looks like I am the sole owner.  It is very hard and frustrating as you can imagine and it does hardly seem fair for anyone going through this where one person becomes responsible the other person thanks to a clerical error can get off scott free.  If this was maybe $10,000 it wouldn’t seem worth much of a fight, but he owes over $60,000 to my $20,000 prior to interest and penalties to as you can tell  I am trying to figure out a way to get this rectified.  He hasn’t been able to obtain a loan on his own to pay off the debt to this date either.  I am seriously considering writing to a local senator or congressman to see if they can possibly help. I have also spoken to several student loan operators, and have even tried to speak to advisers through my children’s schools or through local banks prior to the laws changing and so far I have only heard yes this is a common problem but nobody seems to be able to provide a solution.

    Thank you again,

    Angel

    • http://GetOutOfDebt.org Steve Rhode

      Just remember that the divorce document is one between you and your ex and not between you and your lender. The underlying obligations for a loan are not changed by a divorce decree.

      If you get the written agreement and acknowledgement from him and he defaults on his payments to you, you can also go after him legally.

      Let me know what happens with the Ombudsman.

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