My question involves bankruptcy in the state of: Illinois
My father co-signed on a private student loan (TERI, through American Education Services) for me in 2003. I began making payments on it in 2006 and was never late on a single payment. In July 2009, I received a notification from AES that my balance was $0 and the status was listed as ‘CLAIM PAID’ due to bankruptcy (my father’s Chapter 13 bankruptcy I found out from him later). I asked my father if it was because of his bankruptcy; he claimed that it wasn’t and what they were doing was ‘illegal’.
I called TERI, but they only have a recording on which you can leave a message for them to call you back. I permanently reside abroad, but I left my information in a message for them in the hopes that they would at least contact me via email. A month went by and they didn’t call me back. Over the last year and a half I have sent them 4 e-mails, which they also have yet to respond to. I have asked my father (who lives in the U.S.) to help me out (forward any mail that comes to his house, refer anyone who calls, ask his bankruptcy lawyer), but he avoids the subject or promises to help and then doesn’t. I have also not been able to get my own credit report because all of my credit cards, bank accounts, etc. are foreign, and can’t access the PACER public records system to get the details of his bankruptcy for the same reason.
He did finally admit last week that my loan is included in his bankruptcy and e-mailed me 2 statements that include that he is paying on my loan (listed on his payment record as ‘National Collegiate Trust’. However, my loan and his lawyer’s fees excluded his unsecured debt amounted to about $9,000. If I had known his plans and had been able to remove him as co-signer before he filed for bankruptcy, would a judge have approved his bankruptcy on claims of $9,000? In other words, is it likely that my father knowingly deceived me in order to claim chapter 13 bankruptcy?
Also, I would very much like to continue making payments on this loan (however destroyed my credit may be by now). I have never been contacted by TERI, AES will not give me any information other than the phone number for TERI, and the only number I found for National Collegiate Trust went to someone’s personal voicemail.
I certainly admit that I have been at fault for not pursuing this problem more aggressively over the last year and a half, but I am considering moving back to the States within the next year. I want to solve this problem as soon as possible and in any way possible.
Do I have any other avenues before hiring a lawyer in the U.S.?
If I do hire a lawyer, what would they be able to do for me (in terms of both tracking down my loan and getting the details about the bankruptcy that I am apparently involved in)?
Thank you very much for any help you can provide.