My son-in-law owes Sallie Mae approximately $75,000 in school loans that were accrued before marriage. Sallie Mae is now in the process of trying to collect. He is not working and refuses to work because he knows they will garnish his wages. He is also thinking about suing them because they will not "abide" by what he wants. However, my daughter is working 30-35 hours a week. Will she be held liable for any of that debt? Will they garnish her wages? They have been married less than a year and he didn't tell her how much the loan was for.
Hello and thank you for entrusting me to answer your question. My goal is to answer your question completely and thoroughly and to provide excellent service. I am very sorry to hear about your daughter and son-in-law's student loan situation.Can you please tell me the state in which your daughte and son-in-law reside?I very much look forward to assisting you regarding this matter.
Thank you very much for this additional information. To answer your question you should first understand that Louisiana is a "community property" state, meaning that every asset and liability incurred prior to marriage is "separate property," meaning owned exclusively by the spouse that incurred that asset or liability, and every asset of liability incurred during the marriage is "community property," meaning owned jointly between both spouses. While the student loan debt itself is "separate property" because it was incurred prior to marriage, creditors are free to use any and all community property assets to satisfy that defaulted loan. Regrettably, since your daughter's present income is "community property" (remember, that simply means anything earned during the marriage), her income can typically be garnished to satisfy outstanding loan amounts of her husband even though she is not directly liable for the loans. Your son-in-law would be very wise to talk to his lender rather than ignore the problem or refuse to work. This cannot be overstated. If you communicate with your lender and explain your situation, they will likely be able to work something out, whether it is an extended repayment plan, another forbearance, or something else. The worst thing you can do is ignore the problem, because that will force your lender to take the most aggressive action to collect on the loan. There are a lot of student loan holders in positions similar to son-in-law, and agreeing to one of these options is more cost effective for his lender then going into the collections process and attempting to obtain a wage garnishment order or something else. If your son-in-law's loans qualify, he may also wish to consider the Income Based Repayment program, a.k.a. "IBR." IBR limits a student loan holder's annual payment to 15% of their adjusted gross income (meaning income after tax deductions) subtracted by the "poverty line" income for an individual of your family size. For example, if you made $20,000 last year and, after deductions, your adjusted gross income was $14,000, you would take that amount and subtract it by the poverty line. If you are a single individual, lets assume that the poverty line is $2,500. This would mean that your annual student loan payment pursuant to IBR would be 15% of $11,500. Divide that by 12 and you have your monthly payment. This payment amount will likely be less than a wage garnishment (even with minimal wages) or other type of repayment plan. The other nice thing about IBR is that after 25 years of payments, the remaining balance of loans is waived. See here for more information about IBR and how to apply from Sally Mae: https://www1.salliemae.com/after_graduation/manage_your_loans/repaying-student-loans/starting_repayment/income-based-repayment.htm Finally, here is an extremely informative site on IBR: http://www.ibrinfo.org/ So to summarize, your daughter's wages can likely be garnished because even though the student loan debt is "separate property," any "community property" can be used to satisfy the debt, and current wages are typically construed as community property. In regard to the loan itself, your son-in-law would be very wise to maintain a line of communication with his lender. His options are to obtain a deferment, forbearance, an extended repayment plan to lower your monthly payments, or IBR.I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX this information helps you and I wish you the best.If you do not have any further concerns, I would be very grateful if you would give my answer a positive rating and click submit, as this is the only way I will receive credit for assisting you. If you have any additional concerns that you would like me to address, please feel free to let me know by hitting the REPLY or CONTINUE CONVERSATION button and I will be more than happy to continue assisting you. Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.Thank you and very kindest regards.
Attorney with significant experience in education law.
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