When Do You Need a Student Loan Lawyer?
Student loans are loans that are designed to help students pay for their post-secondary education. Loans are typically obtained to cover fees associated with getting a degree, which may include:
- Books; and
- Living expenses.
In some cases, once an individual graduates and obtains employment, they find that they are unable to make their student loan payments. In these cases, an individual may want to consult with an attorney to determine the possible consequences of defaulting on their loans and what they might be able to do to help their situation.
An individual should take care to avoid defaulting on their loans because it may cause significant damage to their credit as well as increase the amount that they owe. If an individual is having trouble making payments, their options may include:
- Loan cancellation;
- Postponing payments through forbearance or deferment; or
- Filing bankruptcy and discharging the loans.
Forbearance means that the payments will be postponed for a specific period of time. It is important to note that this only applies to the principal owed and interest will continue to accrue.
A forbearance may be easier to obtain than a deferment. However, it may not be as ideal because the total balance will still be increasing during the forbearance because of the accruing interest.
A deferment is the postponement of loan payments that are based on certain conditions being met and for certain periods of time. For example, an individual may be able to obtain a deferment for being unemployed or for going back to school.
The amount of time that is provided will vary depending on the loan. In some cases, a deferment will postpone payments of both the principal and the interest. It is important to note, however, that a deferment will not be available if an individual has defaulted on their student loans.
The last option an individual should consider is filing for bankruptcy to discharge their loans if repaying those loans would cause them a severe hardship, which means:
- Paying off the loans would result in failure to maintain a minimal and acceptable standard of living;
- The individual’s low standard of living would persist for the foreseeable future; and
- The individual has made a good faith effort to repay their student loans.
How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Student Loan Lawyer in the U.S.?
The average cost of a lawyer may vary depending on many factors, including:
- The fee structure the lawyer uses;
- The lawyer’s location and experience;
- The complexity and duration of the individual’s case; and
- The amount of loans an individual may have.
In the United States, attorneys usually charge between $100 and $400 dollars per hour if they use an hourly rate fee for their services. If an individual has to file for bankruptcy, the lawyer may use a flat fee structure and charge between $1,500 and $3,000.
What to Look For in a Student Loan Lawyer?
When an individual is searching for the right student loan lawyer for them, they should consider:
- What type of lawyer an individual needs;
- Whether the lawyer charges an hourly fee or a flat fee;
- Which state bar(s) does the attorney belong to?;
- The lawyer’s track record or performance in court;
- How long the attorney has been practicing; and
- Whether or not the lawyer has been disciplined for ethical or professional infractions.
An individual should seek a lawyer who both fits in their budget and with whom they feel comfortable working.
How to Prepare for Your Consultation With a Student Loan Lawyer?
An individual should always take some time to prepare before their consultation with a student loan lawyer to help ensure that all of their concerns are addressed. When preparing, an individual should gather all of the documents they have related to their student loan as well as their financial situation.
These may include:
- Loan documents;
- Bank account statements;
- Credit card statements;
- Bills; and
A lawyer will need to examine all of this information in order to determine the best option to help an individual’s financial situation.
Where to Find the Best Student Loan Lawyers in the U.S.?
If you have any issues, questions, or concerns related to your student loans, you should consult with a financial attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer can advise you of the options you may have to ease your financial burdens and can represent you during bankruptcy if it becomes necessary.
LegalMatch is an excellent starting place to find a student loan lawyer near you in the United States.