Student loan debt can be an excessive burden. According to The Institute for College Access & Success, the average debt for the Class of 2019 (earning a bachelor’s degree) was nearly $29,000. In some states, it was close to $40,000.1 However, many students owe substantially more. Whether you owe on a federal or private student loan, the terms are often confusing and many borrowers don’t know their rights when lenders step up the pressure. But a student debt lawyer can help you navigate tough times.
A student debt attorney can work within the legal system to provide practical solutions. They can’t make your debt magically disappear. Nevertheless, explaining your situation to them can help your attorney find solutions that work towards resolving it. If you’re not sure it’s time to hire legal help, here are some instances when it can be the right move:
You’ve Defaulted on Your Loan
Missing payments on a loan or any debt is never a good thing. Private lenders are even stricter than federal loan issuers. You may have few options when the loan servicer files a lawsuit. Actions they can take include wage garnishment, which can be difficult, especially early in your career. A student debt lawyer can represent and defend you in court. Their knowledge of the legal system can help keep the lender at bay and provide solutions that work to your benefit.
Your Debt Is Sent to a Collections Agency
Debt collectors often pursue your money aggressively and sometimes engage in harassing letters, phone calls, and even visits to your home or place of work. They can demand full payment upfront but are sometimes open to creating a payment plan. Your attorney can try to negotiate with the debt collector on your behalf. This can result in a more affordable payment plan, reduce the amount you pay, and lessen the impact on your credit score.
You’re Trying to Reach a Solution
Even if you’ve defaulted on a loan, you have legal rights. An attorney can inform you of these rights and communicate with debt collectors, lenders, credit bureaus, and other parties on your behalf. If you’re working on any contractual agreements, a lawyer can help prepare, complete, or review them. They can also help in any kind of credit dispute.
A College or University Has Misled You
Higher education institutions that defraud students are breaking the law. If you feel you’ve been taken advantage of, a student debt lawyer can file a claim and pursue a discharge of your debt. Some colleges make misleading promises about job opportunities after graduation. Contact an attorney if you feel this was the case.
Bankruptcy Seems Like the Best Option
Even if you file for bankruptcy, it can be difficult to get student loans discharged. You might be better off applying for an income-driven repayment plan. But if the loan is causing undue hardship, preventing you from maintaining a minimal standard of living, and you don’t expect your financial situation to change, bankruptcy may be an option. It also helps if you’ve made good faith efforts to try to pay off your loan.
A student debt lawyer can help determine whether bankruptcy is an option and can find strategies that increase the chances of success.
Contact a Skilled Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorney
At OakTree Law, our legal team understands every type of bankruptcy protection and can determine the best solution for you. Student loan debt is generally nondischargeable, although bankruptcy can at least help devote more income to paying off your loan. Your student debt lawyer can help prove your debt poses an unsurmountable hardship or an injury is preventing you from meeting repayment obligations.