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How Can I Stop My Private Student Loan Wage Garnishment?

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Question:

Dear Steve,

Graduated from college in 2008 with about 32,000 in private student loans. I stopped paying on those loans due to financial hardship and in 2014, they took me to court and won a settlement of the whole amount.

I have been having my wages garnished for about 18 months and they are taking approx. $800/month causing me to fall behind on other bills. Is there a way to get someone to help me stop the garnishment and essentially refinance this debt to a more manageable level? What are my options?

Joshua

Answer:

Dear Joshua,

It’s not clear if you had a lawyer who helped represent you in the suit against you by the private student loan company.

These suits have been fertile ground for many to challenge the debts and negotiate settlements in the total amount owed. Just going off what you shared, it does not appear that happened in your situation.

I am not a lawyer and so my advice is based on my experience with others in similar situations that I’ve seen.

Once the garnishment is in place you’d have to go back to court and try to change that for some reason or you could attempt to reopen the case. Those actions would all be best pursued if you had a lawyer experienced in these issues who represented you.

Alternatively, if these loans were poorly documented loans where the lenders could not validate the debt, or you had gone to school that was not Title IV eligible or the expenses paid for by the loans were not qualified educational expenses then you might want to talking to a bankruptcy attorney.

Your bankruptcy attorney could challenge the discharge of the private student loans on a number of reasons. It really depends on the facts in your case.

It could also give your bankruptcy attorney a chance to negotiate a different outstanding balance and amount due. But this is not going to be an easy option. Your bankruptcy attorney is probably going to have to file an Adversary Proceeding along with your bankruptcy to get clarity on the private student loans.

So here is the bottom line, now that the judgment is in place and you are getting garnished, get some legal help. One place to look for an attorney with student loan experience is to click here.

Outside of all of that, I think your refinancing options on the judgment amount are slim to none unless you owe less than $35,000 or so and have the capacity to repay it.


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