If your student loans have gone so far past due that your wages are subject to garnishment, doing nothing is not an option. It’s time to bring in someone who can help.
A garnishment is a scary thing, one that reduces the amount of money you bring home each pay period – sometimes by a significant amount.
When you’re living on the edge financially, even a small amount being garnished can set the rest of your life into a tailspin.
Thankfully, there are some ways to get to the bottom of things.
Private Student Loans
Private student loans can begin a garnishment only if they’ve got a judgment against you. That requires a lawsuit, brought by lawyers who represent the lender.
If you’ve just been served with a Complaint in a lawsuit, you can either call their lawyers or find one of your own. Depending on the situation, one may be better than the other.
The day you get the Complaint in your hands, pick up the phone and call the student loan lender’s attorneys. Find out if there’s a payment plan they’re willing to arrange for you that will stop the lawsuit from going forward.
If you can come to an agreement, get it in writing and filed with the court. You may still want to bring in your own lawyer to make sure the agreement is in your best interests, but you may be able to handle the negotiations on your own.
If you can’t get an agreement nailed down quickly – say, within a day or two – or if you think the student loan lender is asking for an amount of money to which they aren’t entitled, call a student loan lawyer like me to answer the Complaint.
Can you file an Answer to a Complaint on your own? Sure you can – there’s nothing in the law that says otherwise. But the court system can be unforgiving to the uninitiated, and the cost of a student loan attorney is going to be far lower than the money involved in a judgment against you.
Federal Student Loans
In order for a federal student loan to begin garnishment, they’ve got to give you advance notice and an opportunity to contest the decision. There’s no lawsuit, but that doesn’t mean there’s no due process.
Here, your first move should be to call the student loan servicer or U.S. Department of Education and speak with someone there. See if there’s a way to avoid the garnishment by making voluntary payments.
Can’t reach an agreement quickly? Again, someone like me who works in the field of student loan law may be your best advocate. An attorney not only can work on your behalf, but we know some of the repayment options the student lender may not tell you about.
Tackle What You Can, But Be Aware Of Your Limitations
Whether the garnishment is due to private or federal loans, it’s a good idea to exhaust your options before speaking with a lawyer. Don’t waste valuable time, though.
If you can get the garnishment resolved, so much the better. But if not, keep on top of the situation by calling someone like me who may have more creative options available.
Image credit: AdamL212
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