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Things to consider before defaulting on a student loan

The recent proposal by the Obama administration to provide for two years of free college education illustrates the increasingly important role that education plays in the present day of higher-than-usual unemployment and the need for those seeking work to hone their employability by getting more, or better collegiate-level credentials. More and more people are taking college courses, and many of them are paying for it at least in part with student loans.

But college coursework is not a guarantee of better employment, and increasingly frequently students in New Jersey are discovering that when they are done with their college work, paying back that student debt can be a bigger challenge than they thought it would be when the took out the loan.

Some years ago it was easier than it is today to discharge burdensome student loans through bankruptcy, but under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code as it is presently written using bankruptcy as a way out of student loan obligations is significantly more difficult to realize. To succeed, you carry the burden of proving to the bankruptcy court that requiring you to still repay a student loan would pose a severe hardship. While it is not necessarily impossible to demonstrate such a severe hardship, nor is it an easy thing to do.

Still, it may be worth it to at least investigate a bankruptcy option if you are falling behind on your student loan payments, when you consider the alternatives that await you if the loan goes into default. Lenders have a panoply of possible remedies to use to get their money back, including seizing any tax refund or certain federal benefits that you may otherwise be entitled to, wage garnishment, revocation of professional licenses, and even filing a debt collection lawsuit against you.

Indeed, if any of these actions are on the horizon if you cannot repay your loan, they might conceivably bootstrap themselves into the very severe hardship that you would need to prove in bankruptcy.

Proving that you are eligible to discharge a student loan obligation in bankruptcy requires an extensive awareness on the part of your bankruptcy lawyer not only of the law but also of your specific circumstances, so that he or she can present your case for discharge in the most persuasive way possible. Retaining counsel experienced with bankruptcy law will improve your chances of success in this regard.

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At the law offices of William H. Oliver, Jr. & Associates in Toms River and Lakewood, New Jersey, we represent clients in Toms River, Neptune, Trenton, Middletown, Red Bank, Wall, Lakewood, Lakehurst, Manchester, Asbury Park, Old Bridge, Jamesburg, Barnegat, Forked River, Manahawkin, Ocean Township, Brick, Manasquan, Howell, Freehold, Hazlet, Bradley Beach, Brown Mills, Long Branch, Keansburg, Marlboro, Bayville, Beachwood, Whiting, Sayreville, South River, East Brunswick, Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County, Burlington County and Mercer County.