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Can I Discharge My Student Loans in Bankruptcy?

January 25th, 2019 at 10:48 pm

bankruptcyThere are over 44 million young adults in the United States who currently have student loan debt. Those 44 million people owe a combined total of $1.52 trillion, with the average borrowing being $37,000 in debt by the time they graduate. Student loan debt is a rising issue, especially since many have trouble making their payments. One of the most searched questions online is, “Can I discharge my student loans in bankruptcy?” In short, no, you usually cannot, but as with many things, there are a few exceptions to that rule.

The Brunner Test

In 1998, a law was passed that stated you could not discharge student debt unless you could prove that repaying that debt would cause you undue hardship. In 2005, that law was extended to all types of student debt, including private student loans.

Proving undue hardship can actually be quite difficult. The test that is most commonly used in court to determine whether or not you would be experiencing undue hardship is called the Brunner Test. The test is actually quite simple and consists of three elements. These are:

  • Making student loan payments would not allow you to maintain a minimum standard of living because of your current income and expenses;
  • You have extenuating circumstances that make it likely that you will be in the same financial situation for most of the duration of the repayment period; and
  • You have attempted to repay the loan by seeking alternative repayment options and limiting your expenses as much as possible.

This is the basic formula that most courts will use to determine if you are experiencing undue hardship. Some courts will take into account other facts, like age, income, health, other financial circumstances and other factors.

A New Braunfels Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Help You Choose Your Best Course of Action

It can be difficult to know when you need to file for bankruptcy. There are many other options for student loan repayment than a bankruptcy. For federal loans, there are income-driven repayment plans and many private loan servicers will also work with you to create a repayment plan. Bankruptcy should be used as a last resort, but sometimes it is necessary. If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, contact us at the Law Offices of Chance M. McGhee. Our skilled Kerrville bankruptcy attorneys can help you go over your finances and choose which type of bankruptcy would be best for your situation. Call our office today at 210-342-3400 to schedule a free consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/zackfriedman/2019/01/09/student-loans-bankruptcy-discharge/#3230fc0e6d56

https://www.forbes.com/sites/zackfriedman/2018/06/13/student-loan-debt-statistics-2018/#774d1c7310fa

https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/loans/student-loans/student-loans-bankruptcy/

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210-342-3400

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