International Dilemma: I owe the Swedish government for my student loans. Do I still have to pay?
Tackling legal challenges can get a bit precarious when they are international. There are many factors to take into consideration, like the laws of that foreign country and how they translate into the U.S., statute of limitations and the validity of the actual debt in question.
Collecting the Debt
This debt is over 15 years old, and no payments have been made on it. We will discuss the legal obligation to pay in this post, only, and not the moral obligations of payment. In this case, the creditor would have 2 choice- to sue in Sweden to enforce the debt and then domesticate the judgment here under the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgments Act, or sue here. As long as the underlying judgment is valid in Sweden, the Swedish creditor could move to domesticate the judgment. The Swedish government would, however, need a court order to legally enforce this judgment in the U.S.
Follow the Rules
Though the Swedish government may be able to domesticate this judgment, the collectors for the loan still have to follow all of the rules of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), including time to bring a suit, avoiding abuse, false statements or unfair actions. They would also need to comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, as this debt is too old to include on your credit report; it is 15 years old and past the statute of limitations for credit reporting.
There are still many questions to be answered on the validity of this debt as we are unsure of the statute of limitations on student loans in Sweden. It is possible that this debt is invalid, if in fact, the Swedish statute of limitations has passed. However, if this debt is valid and the Swedish statute of limitations has not expired, the creditor can sue in the U.S. They cannot, however, garnish your wages without a judgment because it is not a U.S. Federal student loan.
A consumer protection lawyer can help sort out the details of this case.
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