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My Ex-Husband Sued My Daughter Over a Student Loan

By on May 10, 2016

Question:

Dear Steve,

My ex husband co-signed a private student loan for my daughter through Wells Fargo. The loan was for 1 year of study at FIDM. My daughter was not making the payments.

My ex husband who lives in AZ filed court papers against my daughter and received a judgement for almost $50,000.00 (including thousands in court/attorney fees.)

My daughter lives in WA. The judgement has now been handed over to a collection agency in the state of WA who is now garnishing 25% of her wages. My daughter would like to take over the payments for the student loan; she can’t afford to pay her father and pay the student loan.

Wells Fargo denied her request to have her fathers name taken off the loan and she can’t qualify for a loan of that amount elsewhere. Communication with her father is also not an option.

What does my daughter need to do to stop the collection from her father so she can work with Wells Fargo to begin making payments.

Sandi

Answer:

Dear Sandi,

I am not an attorney and what I can share is my opinion and experience, not legal advice.

So it sounds as if there are two issues here. The first would be the private student loan your daughter signed to attend Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. Your ex-husband was ill advised to co-sign.

The first rule of co-signing is you should never co-sign.

The lawsuit seems to be the result of your ex-husband proceeding with a civil action against her and not anything formal by Wells Fargo. These appear to clearly be two different issues.

Since communications with your ex-husband isn’t really an issue and he has already won a judgment and is now collecting on it, then it seems the best way forward would be for your daughter to file bankruptcy, discharge the debt and stop the wage garnishments. Bankruptcy would give her the protection of the law and terminate the debt.

READ  How Do I Get My Ex-Husband to Pay Up What He Owes Me?

There is no reason to assume your ex-husband won the case, judgment, and garnishment for any reason other than it does not sounds like your daughter defended herself so she lost by default.

Her other option would be to try and unwind the entire suit for some technical reason but that would probably be significantly more expensive to pursue than a bankruptcy.

The frank reality is bankruptcy protection would give your daughter the full protection of the law for the least cost. It’s a matter of economics, not morality, or anything else.

After filing for bankruptcy and terminating the wage garnishment and debt your ex-husband is trying to collect, your daughter could then deal with Wells Fargo directly. But there is some question if Wells Fargo is even still trying to collect the loan from her.

However, Wells Fargo may no longer be able to sue your daughter if your husband repaid the loan, which seems like his basis for suing her, or the statute of limitations has expired.

Tell your daughter to go see a couple of bankruptcy attorneys who are licensed in Washington State and get some free consultations to better understand her options.

There is no reason she would have to speak to your ex-husband to pursue this solution.

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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.

3 Comments

  1. kay

    May 11, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    Hi Steve, it would likely be a good idea to know whether or not the debt to WF is being paid or has been paid. Also, I would wonder if she was a minor when the debt was taken out and if that has any impact regarding responsibility, what does the Separation agreement of the Divorce decree say about paying for school? This girl’s credit can be ruined for quite some time, she should definitely attempt to rectify the situation and bankruptcy seems pretty drastic, her dad sounds like he is at least perceived as a jerk but daughter may want to consider this as an opportunity to collaborate with dad and potentially leave the relationship on a better note. She is responsible for her behavior, how he responds is on him.

    • Steve Rhode

      May 11, 2016 at 2:23 pm

      I agree that would be good to know but what you see in the question is all the information provided. I strongly suspect it was since the ex-husband sued for the balance.

      Unfortunately it really doesn’t matter what the divorce agreement says since the consumer agreement survives and is independent of that

      Bankruptcy is probably the least drastic solution. She’s already been sued and that will remain on her consumer credit report for more than seven years. No statute on public record information. It’s the least expensive way to get legal protection, and credit can be rebuilt faster following a bankruptcy than with a lingering collection and garnishment.

  2. Steve Rhode

    May 10, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    I just answered your question.

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