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Does Filing Bankruptcy Affect a Co-Signer’s Credit?

cosignerMany people who file bankruptcy in Northern Kentucky have co-signers on their debt. For some, the co-signer is part of the reason they are filing bankruptcy in the first place! I cannot count the number of parents I have met who have had to file bankruptcy because they were sued when a child defaulted on car payments. Similarly, I have helped quite a few people file bankruptcy because an ex-spouse defaulted on the mortgage that both spouses signed before the divorce.

Trying Not to Hurt a Family Member’s Credit

Sometimes the reverse of that situation is also true. I’ve seen quite a few people fall on hard times with their debts generally, but faithfully keep a particular debt paid because they know a family member co-signed on that debt. The last thing anyone wants is for a family member’s credit to be hurt, especially if that family member has nothing to do with the default on that debt. In this situation, the question I’m most commonly asked is, “If I file bankruptcy on this debt, will it hurt my co-signer’s credit?”

Bankruptcy is Tied to Specific Social Security Numbers

The answer is straightforward, but there are a few factors that need to be considered before you arrive at a plan to deal with the debt. In short, if you file bankruptcy, your social security number is the one the bankruptcy attaches to. A co-signer’s social security number will not be involved, and thus the bankruptcy does not go on their credit. At most, the co-signer’s credit report will receive a notation, on the particular debt in question, that a bankruptcy was filed on that debt. This should not affect the co-signer’s credit score.

Can Creditors Come After Co-Signers After Bankruptcy Proceedings Are Started?

The bigger and more important issue is the matter of whether the creditor can sue or demand payment from the co-signer. If the co-signer has not filed a bankruptcy of his or her own, then the co-signer might be forced to pay the debt. This can be avoided if you continue to pay on the debt, and there are several ways that this can be accomplished, including by filing a reaffirmation or by paying the debt through a Chapter 13 payment plan.

Protecting co-signers during a bankruptcy is one of the many reasons that Northern Kentucky bankruptcy filers need the services of a skilled bankruptcy attorney.

If you or someone you know may need to file bankruptcy, contact a Northern Kentucky Bankruptcy Lawyer today. Lawrence & Associates can help!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation