Your Student Loan Lawyer Can Help
Student loan debt is an ever-increasing problem in the United States, as many students take these loans to further their education with the hope of finding a better job. Unfortunately, with costs rising so quickly, the jobs most students get fresh out of college don’t pay enough to cover their expenses and also meet their student loan obligations. When unexpected problems such as large medical expenses, injuries, or layoffs occur, debts can become overwhelming.
If you find yourself in a financial hole and dealing with mounting debts you cannot pay, filing for bankruptcy may be an option to have many of your consumer debts discharged (eliminated). While it is commonly believed that student loans cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, this is not always true. With my knowledge and experience as an Orlando bankruptcy lawyer, I am often able to explore ways for clients to obtain relief from at least part of their student loan debt or to utilize resources enabling them to get caught up on student loan payments. By wiping out other consumer debts, such as credit card debt and medical debt, filing bankruptcy can help you to get a fresh financial start and allow you to rebuild your life.
Your Student Loan Lawyer in Orlando, FL, Works to Help You
Why Choose Me?
Getting student loans eliminated in bankruptcy is a complicated process, and the laws are complicated as well. To get the results you need, you should select an attorney who has the skills and ability to find solutions to your debt problems. Here are some reasons why I believe I am your best choice:
- I am experienced and focus on student loans, bankruptcy, tax, and debt relief solutions. I know the intricate details of federal and state laws, and I will work with you to find the best path possible for your individual circumstances.
- I provide individual attention and guidance. You will meet directly with me. I will be handling your case from start to finish.
- I am affordable. I understand that those struggling with debt cannot afford to be burdened with large attorney fees, so I make my services as affordable as possible and can save you money by preventing you from making costly mistakes. I offer payment plans.
- I am available to address your concerns during all steps of the process. Unlike other law firms, I do not pawn you off on staff. I am available to you from start to finish.
How I Work to Help You
When you have me on your side, I will start working for you immediately.
- I meet with you to discuss your student loan and other debts and determine which type of student loan solution, bankruptcy, or other debt relief solution may be best for you.
- I examine all your finances and assets to see what exemptions you may qualify for to protect your property and what will happen to property you cannot exempt.
- I file all paperwork promptly and attend all court appearances in accordance with state and federal bankruptcy law.
- I am there for you, to answer questions and ensure you meet all requirements (such as credit counseling) so your student loan situation can be solved.
The sooner you tackle your student loan situation, the better. Call me today to schedule a consultation. I have years of experience getting people out of debt and will develop a plan to help you, whether or not you can discharge your student loans.
Student Loan Lawyer in Orlando, FL, Discusses Whether You Can File Bankruptcy
While in most instances student loans cannot be discharged through bankruptcy in Florida, there are some circumstances where they can, and you cannot get relief unless you try. According to a study in the American Bankruptcy Law Journal, only 0.1 percent of student loan debtors who have filed for bankruptcy attempt to discharge their student loans, but judges grant a discharge to nearly 40 percent of those who seek one and are able to prove that paying these loans would impose an “undue hardship.”
According to the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, student loans used for costs related to your enrollment can be discharged in bankruptcy only if repayment of the debt “will impose an undue hardship on you and your dependents.” Since “undue hardship” is not defined in the bankruptcy code, different jurisdictions and judges interpret the standard differently.
To prove undue hardship, most bankruptcy courts follow the Brunner test, named after the case that established the standard, (Brunner v. New York State Higher Educ. Servs. Corp., 831 F. 2d 395 (2d Cir. 1987).
The Brunner test asks three questions to evaluate whether you are able to afford paying your student loan:
- Will you be unable, based on your current income and expenses, to maintain a minimal standard of living for yourself and any dependents if forced to repay the loans?
- Are there additional exceptional circumstances that exist that indicate that this state is likely to persist for a significant portion of the repayment period for the student loans?
- Have you made a good faith effort to repay the student loans?
This test applies to all student loans which are guaranteed or subsidized by federal, state, or local government, as well as private student loans used only for educational purposes. The rules do not apply for simple tuition debts or other educational debts which are not loans and did not involve a transfer of funds and a promise to repay the funds.
If you are able to prove undue hardship, your student loan will be completely canceled. Even if you cannot prove undue hardship, filing for bankruptcy can help by eliminating many of your eligible debts so that it will be easier to pay off student loans. In addition, filing for bankruptcy automatically protects you from collection actions on all of your debts until the bankruptcy case is resolved or until the creditor gets permission from the court to start collecting again.
Proving Undue Hardship in a Student Loan Lawsuit
When you file for bankruptcy, whether or not your student loan is discharged due to hardship is not automatically determined. If you want to try to get your student loans canceled, I will file a lawsuit in Bankruptcy Court, known as an “adversary proceeding,” against your student loan creditors and/or the government to get a determination by the court. I would request that the court find that repayment would impose undue hardship and present facts to the court to prove it.
To prove your case, I would have to:
- Examine your individual financial situation and existing debts and payments.
- Gather supporting documents such as financial, educational, employment, medical, and other records.
- Get testimony from you and supporting witnesses to show undue hardship and good faith.
Whether or not your student loans can be discharged, if you are overwhelmed with debt, filing bankruptcy may be the best way to make a fresh start. Even if you already filed for bankruptcy, if you did not request a determination of undue hardship, I can take the necessary action to reopen your bankruptcy case and file for this relief.
Student Loan Attorney Answers FAQS
When dealing with overwhelming student loan and other debt, you are bound to have questions. These are best addressed at your initial consultation, but to get you started, here are some answers to questions I am often asked:
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is the most common type of personal bankruptcy and will discharge (eliminate) most or all consumer unsecured debt such as credit cards, medical bills, and unsecured loans. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is over in a few months, so you can begin rebuilding credit quickly. While you may have to liquidate some property, there are generous Florida bankruptcy exemptions that protect most day-to-day items that you own from being sold.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a repayment plan that allows you to consolidate and repay some or all of your debt affordably over a three- to five-year period. Under Chapter 13, student loans are considered “non-priority unsecured debts.” Since your repayment plan does not require you to pay these debts in full, your plan, not your loan holder, will determine the size of your student loan payments, which may be significantly reduced.
No. After filing your bankruptcy petition, you will be required to attend a hearing called a First Meeting of Creditors where a bankruptcy trustee asks you questions about your bankruptcy papers and financial situation, and creditors are permitted to do so as well. I will prepare you and accompany you to this meeting. But the good news? This meeting is over the telephone. It is very rare for a client to ever appear in person in court during their case.
Having private loans may make it easier to pass the undue hardship test, since private lenders may not let you arrange for lower payments. If you have a federal student loan, it may be harder to pass the test, as there are repayment options which may let you pay little to nothing for a time. However, even for federal loans, if a hardship situation arises — such as becoming disabled — you may be able to pass the test and have your student loan discharged.
While bankruptcy filing typically involves court and lawyer fees, I will work out an affordable way to manage the cost. Most people are able to afford my fees by no longer making credit card payments they were struggling to manage. In addition, after successfully discharging your debts, you will wind up in a much better position than you were in before filing and you can start rebuilding your credit.
When you have me on your side, I will be there to answer all your questions as they come up.
Get Help from an Orlando, FL, Student Loan Lawyer
If you are struggling with student loan, or other debt, the good news is that there is help available. When you consult with me, I will evaluate your entire financial situation by looking at your income, your debts, and your goals. Then I will make sure you know all your options, including negotiating with the lender to get more favorable terms, or a modification or consolidation of the student loan debt to enable you to get caught up on payments.
With my years of experience in helping people get out of debt, I am confident I will be able to come up with a plan to do the same for you, whether or not you can discharge your student loans.
Give me a call today.