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How Can I Get Rid of My Law School Debt With Co-Signers?

By on August 9, 2016

Question:

Dear Steve,

My story is the same as many others on here. I went to four years and undergrad and three years of law school and managed to finance the bulk of it through federal funding but I still have upwards of about 100-150k in private debt owed to Chase, Sallie Mae, and Alpine.

The total debt I’m paying monthly is around $1200.00/month and I only take home $2000.00 a month. You can see how this might be crippling. I’m stuck.

Do you have any tips for discharging this debt legally? I read your article on 10 reasons to stop paying your loan and I like a lot of what you are saying, but my mom co-signed on all of my loans. Won’t she get dragged into proceedings? Can I do this in a way that doesn’t involve my co-signer?

Justin

Answer:

Dear Justin,

I’d love to tell you there is a painless and simple answer here. There simply isn’t.

Any co-signer will get dragged into any default. Well intentioned co-signers did what they thought was best and agreed to be 100 percent responsible for the loan if the borrower did not pay.

I know your mother had the most loving and helpful of intentions in mind. She truly cared about you and was absolutely willing to put her financial future on the line for you.

As far as I am aware, there is no solution to avoiding dragging a co-signer into any action you take to attempt to deal with the debt. You could of course attempt to get the co-signer removed from the loans. The lenders proclaim there is a process to do that but they actually don’t remove co-signers on the vast majority of loans.

Knowing the limitations caused by the co-signer, I would suggest having a brainstorming session with your Mom as the co-signer and coming up with a plan on how to deal with the debt. If she came to an agreement with you that the two of you simply can’t afford the debt then you could consider some of the more radical steps suggested in Top 10 Reasons You Should Stop Paying Your Unaffordable Private Student Loan.

READ  Lawyers Screwed by Deceptive Hiring Rates While Hooked and Buried in Student Loan Debt

Then there are the strategies of looking at the accreditation of the school, how the money was used, etc. But all of those strategies will involved bankruptcy, and Adversary Proceeding in bankruptcy, or a default.

At this point the least painful approach may be to increase income by hunting around for another job or moving to an area where a better paying job may be.

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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.

One Comment

  1. JMinneapolis

    August 12, 2016 at 9:29 am

    Justin – if you have paid for at least a few years and not missed payments – you could do what I did – consolidate your private loans into a new loan with no cosigner. My job was announcing possible layoffs and I didn’t want to drag my cosigner into me defaulting – so I did just that. It’s been 9 months and I still have a job, but my private loans are only in my name.

    I tried to get my cosigner removed, as well, and they kept telling me that I need additional time of a good payment history and to be at 80% of my original principal amount.

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