I Cosigned for My Daughters Law Degree Loans Which She Refuses to Pay Back. – Pam

“Dear Steve,

I cosigned on private student loans for my daughter’s grad school years (these are not federal loans.) I’ve since then, been diagnosed with a brain lesion which required treatment, have subsequent seizures, spinal problems and multiple other medical problems.

I had to sell my home and move in with my mom and step dad. I have not been able to work since May of 2007. I’m having a SS hearing finally in August of 2009. My daughter obtained her law degree, however decided not to practice law and not to pay back her loans either. She is healthy and working. She is 24 years old. I am 51 years old with health problems that will prohibit me from working for the rest of my life.

Is there any way these private loan companies can come after my SSI/SSD after I finally receive it? If my family hadn’t taken me in, I would most certainly be dead now. I require multiple medications, oxygen , doctor visits regularly, etc. and I don’t think the SS is going to cover much more than my medical expenses , at least for the first 2 years without having Medicare and having to pay for my own health insurance.

My daughter has since the repayment requests began, stopped speaking to me…I’m needless to say, quite hurt by her ruthlessness. I made many sacrifices for her during those last 3 years of school , I was happy to do so. I did believe however that she would be practicing law, hence she would have to be responsible for her debts as that is one of the bar’s requirements. Your expertise in providing an answer would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much.


Dear Pam,

There is no shortage of cruel and senseless things that our adult children do. In my humble opinion, based upon what you shared, your daughter has really screwed you over here. The time has come for you to look out for yourself and those that are caring for you. This is where your responsibility lies first and foremost. It’s like when you are on the plane and the oxygen masks drop down, you need to put yours on first.

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Student loans are one of the nastiest loans you can owe. They have almost unfettered powers to recover money. The good news is that these are not government backed loans and thus should prevent the garnishing of your social security benefits.

I think you should go and meet with a local bankruptcy attorney and talk about filing a chapter 11 bankruptcy to discharge your responsibility for these loans. There is a hardship provision that may just allow you to do this. Once you do that the loans will become your daughters rightful and sole responsibility.

It might seem like an aggressive course of action but based on the circumstances I think it is reasonable to consider. My primary concern right now is you and the last thing you need in your condition is years of debt collection attempts or constant pressure from these loans that your daughter has dumped in your lap and walked away from.


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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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