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Thomas Swartz
Thomas Swartz, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3149
Experience:  Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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Hi, When I was married, I cosigned several private student

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When I was married, I cosigned several private student loans totaling around 80k for my now ex wife. In our divorce agreement, she agreed to pay them off. She defaulted on them about six months ago. Although no one has come after me for the money yet, I am sure it only a matter of time.

My situation is a bit stranger, because I no longer live in the US. Because these are private student loans, I was told the loan company would need a judgement against me to collect. For this I would need to be served in person. ( I think). Also the majority of my asests are not inside the US. All that I have in the US is a small bank account and a small brokerage account.

It was suggested to me that I hire a lawyer to contact the loan company, explain my situation and offer a small payment in order to be removed as the cosigner of the loan. The person that suggested it told me the loan company would likely take something, rather than nothing. I have never heard of anything like this being done before and not sure if it is plausible enough to spend money on a lawyer.

My question, in several parts,

A. is that a realistic plan? If so, how do I go about finding a lawyer that won't charge me an arm and a leg?

B. If they attempted to sue me, would they have to serve me in person or could they mail something to my country?

C. If I wanted to sue my ex, could I? They haven't taken any money from me, so not sure what damages i could show. But I hate the fact she has washed her hands of the whole thing.

I would not hire a lawyer at this point to make an offer to pay off some of the loan. Since you are no longer living in the U.S., it is unlikely the lender will pursue you. Serving an individual in a foreign country is a somewhat difficult process and given the amount of the debt involved here, it likely would not be used by by the lender. Service of process in a foreign country is governed by treaty (Hague Service Convention). And some countries under this treaty allow service by international registered mail and some do not. But in any event, because of the difficulties of foreign service, the lender will pursue your ex-wife first. So I would simply wait and let them pursue your wife. And then only if they actually attempt service would I hire attorney and offer something in settlement.

Your divorce settlement would give you the right to seek indemnification against your ex-wife should the lender ultimately be successful in getting a judgment against you. If she agreed in the divorce settlement to relieve you of the obligation of the loan, she is bound by that and she would be required to reimburse you for any judgment the lender obtained against you.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.



Thank you for you answer. So even though I am the consigner, they can still just sue her and not me? Is that common practice?



Yes they can pursue her individually, and it is common.