It is quite common for bankruptcy clients to have friends, family members, or significant others as co-signers due to their inability to obtain credit without co-signer.
Our clients are oftentimes concerned about how their decision to file for bankruptcy might affect their co-signer’s credit. If you have a credit card with a co-signer, you can still get that debt discharged by filing for bankruptcy. However, your co-signer would still be responsible for paying the balance if you do not pay it or if that debt is discharged.
If you have a co-signer on your motor vehicle, you could sign a reaffirmation agreement and continue to make the payment. Those payments would be positively reported to the credit bureaus. Then your co-signer would not be affected by your bankruptcy filing.
If you are in a Chapter 13, the automatic stay would protect your co-signer from any collection efforts by the creditor while you are in the Chapter 13 plan. However, if the creditor is ultimately not paid in full then the creditor could try to obtain the balance from the co-debtor. As long as the co-debtor or you are current on the payment, filing for bankruptcy should not adversely affect their credit.
Generally, if spouses are co-debtors and have a lot of joint debt it is more practical for both to file for bankruptcy so one spouse is not stuck with the debt. A co-debtor being on a loan or credit line raises a lot of concerns and questions on the impact a bankruptcy filing will have.
If you have any questions about how filing your bankruptcy could potentially affect a co-debtor, feel free to contact me at (813) 463-8000.