Definition of "Obligor"

Joshua L. Cole real estate agent
Joshua L. Cole, Real Estate Agent Venture Realty Group

The definition of obligor is a position that comes from obligation and indicates a party that has ‘promised’ to perform a specific act. In the financing world, an obligor is also known as a debtor. It can apply to someone who is obliged legally or through a contract to pay a debt, to provide a service, to transfer a title, or provide benefit to another. 

The meaning of the term “obligor” is used in financial context to refer to an issuer of a bond. The bond issuer is contractually obliged to meet the required repayments and interest payments for an outstanding debt. The one who receives the compensation or benefits is the obligee.

How does an obligor work?

As mentioned above, an obligor’s position comes with an obligation that legally bounds the obligor to the obligee. The most common types of obligors are debt holders. The obligor is required contractually to repay their debt and to repay interest. Obligors can be found in corporate settings or personal settings. We’ll take a look at their obligations in each situation.

Corporate Setting Obligor

In the corporate world, an obligor doesn’t only deal with the payment requirements, but also with covenants which can be affirmative or negative. The affirmative covenant is a requirement of the obligor, like meeting a target or benchmark in performance. The negative covenant is a restriction that limits the obligor’s ability to do something, like changing the structure of a company’s leadership.


Because obligors are contractually obliged by these covenants, they have little freedom from them regarding payments. A delay in payments can have long-term repercussions and can be seen as a default for the bond issuer.

Personal Setting Obligor

A person can become an obligor in their personal life as well. In family disputes, divorce affects real estate, but there are situations when the court issues an order that obliges one of the parents to pay a monthly fee in child support so that the other parent can use it to raise the children. This would make the paying parent an obligor. A personal setting obligor can request a recalculation of the child support if their financial status changes as child support result from the obligor’s salary.

In case the obligor loses their job, and they do not request a recalculation of child support, they can face other problems. The court can impose wage garnishments and loss of driver’s license, amongst other things.


When an insurance company has a life insurance policy, and the insured individual dies, the insurance company becomes the obligor. Through the life insurance policy the insurance company is contractually obliged to compensate the beneficiary of the life insurance policy as stipulated within the policy itself.


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