Legal Question in Bankruptcy in California

My fiance has $4000 in debt that he is unable to pay (this is from a school, they're claiming he owes for unpaid tuition). He makes between $100 and $200 a week and we have a child together. I make more than him, and all assets are in my name, but between me and him, we can't pay this on their terms. This is now a 3 year old case. We have tried negotiating with the school to lower the amount, but they refused contact with us and sent it to collections. We would like to get married next year and get this settled before then. Should he file for bankruptcy? Is it worth it over only $4000? Would a bankruptcy attorney be able to negotiate with the school for us? Any advice is appreciated. Thank you!

Asked on 8/27/13, 2:56 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Peter Lago Peter L. Lago, Atty at Law

Hi. Unfortunately it sounds like your fiancée is stuck with this student loan. Bankruptcy generally will not discharge a student loan and if the lender refuses to negotiate, you don't have much wiggle room but to pay as you can. Unless you can prove severe hardship to a judge the loan will survive BK, and due to the relatively small amount owed it would not be feasible to pay a lawyer the costs of litigating same. Just my opinion.

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Answered on 8/27/13, 3:14 pm

Scott Jordan Dunning Law Firm

While Mr. Lago is correct, I am not sure this is a student loan. If it is for unpaid tuition, it is simply a debt not a loan and would be dischargeable in bankruptcy.

The issue then is whether it is worth it to file bankruptcy. Most attorneys would not recommend bankruptcy for only $4,000 in debt. It may be best to negotiate a payment plan. But, it the collection agency refuses to negotiate, no one, including an attorney, can make them budge and bankruptcy may be his only option.

Now that the debt is with a collections agency, they will be willing to discuss payments but will also add enormous fees and interest to the debt. It may be that the debt has risen to over $10K without you knowing about it.

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Answered on 8/27/13, 3:21 pm
Charles Andersen Charles Andersen, Atty

I concurr with Mr. Jordan. His answer was most informative.

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Answered on 8/27/13, 6:53 pm

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