A civil judgement has been entered against me for a defaulted student loan. What do I do next?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Do what you should have done prior to the judgment and go and seek legal help. That sounds snarky, but that is not my intent.
You post no details. When was the judgment entered? For how much? Is this a private student lender? When did the default occur? Did you file any kind of an answer?
These are all questions that an attorney would have to answer after reviewing the summons and complaint and other documents.
If the judgment was entered recently, can it be opened? When did you learn of the judgment? Do you have any meritorious defenses (like the statute of limitations)? Why did you not file an answer sooner? When did the default occur? Why?
Depending on the answers - these are your options:
(1) do nothing if you have no assets and don't plan on ever acquiring any including a bank account. depending on the type of student loan, there may be wage garnishment.
(2) if you have valid defenses, then see a litigation lawyer who deals with student loan debt to see if the judgment can be opened to allow you to file an answer and raise these defenses.
(3) try to work out a payment plan voluntarily and stick to it. if you do this, get any arrangements in writing that specify that the creditor will not try to seize your bank account or levy on other assets for so long as you pay. If its a private lender and if you have a sizeable chunk of the debt saved, maybe you could try settling for less than 100% of the debt or else using what you have saved as a downpayment and pay off the balance over time.
(4) if there is a huge amount of debt with no way to ever repay, consider bankruptcy. Student loans can be discharged in bankruptcy, although it is sometimes difficult because a debtor must prove hardship. I don't know your circumstances but if there is enough to justify a hardship exception then maybe you can get this discharged. Even if you can't but have enough other dischargeable debts to make it worthwhile, maybe you can file bankruptcy and get those other debts wiped out leaving you with only the student loan debt.
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