As parents, our goal is usually to see that our children are happy and healthy, and able to go on to lead fruitful lives-sometimes meaning that you will have cosigned on a loan to help propel them forward. In many cases, adult children may need a nudge—especially financially. This could involve help as they move forward in renting a new place on their own or even taking on a mortgage, purchasing a new or used car, or taking out a student loan. Younger borrowers are at an obvious disadvantage, however, because they generally have little to no credit. This may leave them out in the cold, or with the option of turning to you as a cosigner; in fact, many creditors or lenders may require a cosigner due to their age and relative inexperience with borrowing.
Times and customs may be changing today, especially in the area of finances, standing out starkly in comparison to previous decades and generations. For our parents and grandparents, the goal was to finish school, get married, have children, buy a house and a car, have barbecues on the weekends with the neighbors, and plan a vacation in the summer. Today however, more adult children than ever are still living at home, and Millennials continue to propel the stereotype of couch surfing at their parents’ rather than buying a home, taking public transportation or bumming rides rather than buying a car, and eschewing many of the norms expected of previous generations.
Some parents are eager to jump right in and help with co-signing, fueled by optimism for the future. The rule of thumb, however, is to never co-sign on an amount you do not have readily available in your own account. Feasibly, if the primary borrower defaults, you could be held responsible for satisfying the remainder of the debt—and incurring negative repercussions if you were not able to do so. If your son, for example, does not pay off his initial debt or is delinquent and just stops paying (or in the case of a private student loan, goes into default), the creditor or lender could serve him with a collections lawsuits, leaving him with the choice of replying and showing up in court with the help of an experienced attorney—or becoming vulnerable to a default or court judgment.
Failing to come through as a co-signer after your child defaults also means collections activity for you—to include phone calls and ongoing harassment—with aggressive collections effort, negative repercussions on the credit report, and ensuing lawsuits or default judgments. Unfortunately, this type of situation could become all too real. Before you sign on the dotted line, speak with a debt protection attorney about your options.
Speak with an attorney from Fitzgerald & Campbell, APLC as soon as possible to examine your options. Our attorneys have decades of experience in serving clients as they navigate through challenging financial situations, to include student loan issues, bankruptcy, and other debt management processes. We are here to help! Click here to schedule a free 30-minute consultation, call us at (844) 431-3851, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.