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Thank you for your patience. Unfortunately, this is the downside to being a co-signer. You are all equally liable, but it also means that the party seeking to collect payment can pursue all of you, some of you, or just one of you. They are not obligated to try and get payment out of everyone.You could sue the other parties in small claims court (depending on the amount) for their share, but you cannot force the bondsman to try to make the others pay.Of course, if no one pays, then the bondsman will likely revoke the bond and seek to arrest the defendant.If you need clarification about my answer or additional information, please use the SEND or REPLY button to continue our conversation. Your satisfaction is my goal and I am here to help!Please remember to kindly leave a positive rating for me by clicking on the stars, as that is the only way experts are paid for their time even though you may have already paid a deposit to the site. Follow-up questions asked in this thread do not cost anything additional after leaving a positive rating. Thank you!
Once a bondsman decides to recall a bond, it's just a matter of them doing whatever paperwork they need to and filing it with the court. Some bondsman are more patient than others and will give some time for the person(s) who signed to make a payment, but it's not really their job to chase after payments, either. They put up a portion (sometimes a large portion) of their company's money and if they aren't going to get paid or if they believe there is a risk the defendant won't show, they won't hesitate to recall that bond.As far as warning the other co-signers, I have two thoughts on that. If you think that telling them that you'll have no choice but to sue them for their share of all of the money you've been paying out will get them to contribute, go for it. Most people don't want anything to do with court and will make an effort. But if you think they really don't care and the only chance you might have of seeing any money is to sue them, what benefit do you get from telling them first? None. It would be like warning someone you were going to punch them in the face before you did it, if you know what I mean?
Ah, I was under the impression that you knew these people and had their addresses. I can't speak for the bond company as to whether they would give you that information willingly if you explained that you may have to sue them for the money you paid, I would certainly start there. If not, there are certainly other ways to attempt to get that information such as reverse phone number searches -typically there are fees for something like that.Before doing anything or even paying off the balance I would talk to a lawyer about filing suit (many lawyers offer free consultations and of course, there's no obligation). There are obviously costs involved in doing so, even in small claims court, where you don't have to bring a lawyer if you don't want to. And, even if you win, what you end up getting is a judgment. It doesn't necessarily mean that these folks will pay you, so that's something to consider. Would this be just a waste of your time and money? Are you better off cutting your losses and taking this as a very expensive lesson?
Not suggesting you don't do it, or trying to talk you out of it - just trying to give you a complete picture so you can think about it.
If you do pursue it, you don't necessarily have to pay off the balance first, but that would make the most sense. Otherwise, you're suing them for what you've paid, and then if you end up paying more money and want to try and collect, you may end up suing them again.
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