Lawyers often spend too much time focused on whether a debtor meets the Brunner test for undue hardship that they miss major opportunities to reduce and eliminate federal and private student loan debt. Many people are in forbearance for years while their loan balances continue to grow. Taking advantage of Income Driven Plans in bankruptcy by using the Buchanan language and the new Student Loan Management Program in the Middle District of Florida can save tens of thousands of dollars.
How else can a student loan attorney help? By ensuring borrowers are placed in the correct IDR plans which can often save hundreds per month and allow for full forgiveness. Helping borrowers to understand and minimize the tax consequences. Curing defaults to stop wage garnishment, social security offset and tax intercepts. Helping borrowers ensure they are properly enrolled in Public Service Loan Forgiveness – to avoid being one of the 99.5% who are being denied this relief.
Private non-qualified, non-school certified, loans are subject to discharge. Recent case law permits the discharge of private loans to attend ineligible schools, Bar Study or Tuition Answer loans or for debt incurred beyond the cost of the education. Cases such as In re Kashikar, In re Campbell, In re Dufrane, In re Wiley, In re Essangui and In re Decena are paving the way to creating Florida precedent for discharge such as in In re Lysiuk and In re Lytkina a/k/a Mulligan. We help consumers to take control of their student loans and create a plan for a reduced amount of debt, and an affordable payment with an end in sight. Settlements outside of bankruptcy are also possible, although this will cause a taxable event for the forgiveness (which does not occur in a bankruptcy).
Christie Arkovich has been a Florida licensed attorney for more than 25 years since graduation from Stetson College of Law in 1992 with honors. Ms. Arkovich is a frequent speaker at various consumer oriented continuing legal education seminars for other attorneys before the American Bankruptcy Institute, the National Association of Consumer Advocates (“NACA”) and the Tampa Bay Bankruptcy Bar Association (the “TBBBA”). She also writes a quarterly column for the TBBBA, Student Loan Sidebar, about recent student loan related laws, regulations and developments nationwide. Whenever possible, Ms. Arkovich takes the opportunity to share her knowledge about student loans gained from prior work as trial counsel for Sallie Mae, ECMC and other student loan servicers or guarantors, and from practice now on the consumer side of things.
Please reach out to us for a consultation to see what options apply specifically to you and how we can help eliminate or minimize your student loan debt.