Understand Your Rights Concerning Student Loan Debt And Bankruptcy In Atlanta, GA
Atlanta, GA law firm Galler Law can help you get out of student loan debt. Student loan debt is a national problem: according to recent estimates, total student loan debt in the U.S. now exceeds $1.5 trillion. This means that student loan debt now exceeds credit card debt! According to the Project on Student Debt, the average college graduate owed $29,400 in student loans in 2012. This is up from $18,750 in 2004.
There are many reasons for this increase, including the rising cost of education. If you are saddled with student loan debt – whatever the reason – you know that it can be crippling. An Atlanta, GA bankruptcy attorney at Galler Law can help you conquer your student loan debt.
The Bankruptcy Code In Georgia
Under Georgia’s current bankruptcy code, student loan debt is not dischargeable unless the failure to discharge the loan would result in “undue hardship” for the borrower. As it turns out, “undue hardship” is a rather vague term. Since the term is not explicitly defined in the Georgia bankruptcy code, it is up to the courts to determine if student loans constitute an undue hardship. An Atlanta, GA bankruptcy attorney at Galler Law can argue your case before the courts.
In Re Cox
In 2002, there was a landmark bankruptcy case in Georgia, known as In re Cox. This case was decided by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. In this case, the court was tasked with reviewing a bankruptcy case involving student loan debt. This case was the first to address the issue of undue hardship in Georgia. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the term “undue hardship” was never properly defined in Georgia. This being the case, the court looked to other jurisdictions for guidance. According to the court, for student loan debt to qualify as undue hardship in a bankruptcy case, the debtor must show the following 3 factors:
- A good faith effort was made to repay the loan
- Based on current income/expenses, the individual (and their dependents) cannot maintain a minimal standard of living while repaying the loans.
- These difficulties are likely to continue for a significant portion of the loan’s repayment period.
Ever since the 2002 decision, this test has been applied to student loan debt. While meeting the 3 criteria mentioned above can be difficult for those attempting to have their student loans discharged, it is not impossible.
Call An Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney
If you believe that your student loan debt constitutes an undue hardship, call an Atlanta, GA bankruptcy lawyer at Galler Law. Even if your student loan debt cannot be discharged, filing for bankruptcy can still improve your financial situation. Bankruptcy may allow you to discharge other debts, such as credit card debt. This will leave you more money to pay back your student loans. Bankruptcy can also allow you to consolidate your debt – including student loan debt – thus lowering monthly payments.