Will my co-signer’s bankruptcy negatively affect me?
Perhaps you are, or have been, in this situation. Here is the nightmare scenario: You are signing for a loan, and you have a co-signer, as is sometimes required. Years later, though you have been diligently making your payments as they come due, your loan provider declares you in default. The institution will no longer accept any payments from you or provide any information about the account. The reason given is bankruptcy. You panic; you know you haven’t declared bankruptcy. So what is the problem?
Perhaps the cause of the default status on the loan is that the loan servicer has learned that your co-signer has declared bankruptcy. While it is commonplace for a loan servicer to call an entire loan due if the borrower declares bankruptcy, it is generally not proper to call an entire loan due because a cosigner has declared bankruptcy. This is true of Chapter 13. For the purposes of Chapter 7 and Chapter 11, however, it can depend.
One thing you can do on your own is monitor your credit. This is a proper course of action no matter what your financial situation. You can request your free credit report and look for any reported default. Requesting your free credit report is easy. You can visit annualcreditreport.com to get one free credit report every year from each of the credit bureaus. Be careful, because there are many imitation websites out there that look similar to the real ones.
If you find a default on a report that is due to a co-signer’s financial problem, you can file a complaint with the credit bureau to have the default removed from your report. It is important to diligently monitor your reports on a regular basis to protect yourself, hopefully becoming aware of such a situation before it becomes unmanageable.
It is also beneficial to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney in your area. This is especially true when your case involves Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The laws covering this issue differ depending on which jurisdiction’s laws apply in your situation, and can, therefore, be more complicated to resolve.