If you’re running out of ways to make ends meet because of hefty student loan payments, you may be wondering if bankruptcy is the answer. However, you may have heard that these types of loans are not amenable to the bankruptcy solution. While such debt isn't automatically discharged, there are some scenarios in which it can be. Here’s a closer look.
What Is Undue Hardship?
Generally speaking, debtors may only discharge student loans if they can prove undue hardship. While bankruptcy law doesn't specify what “undue hardship” encompasses, there are some widely accepted standards.
For example, petitioners will typically qualify if they can prove they're unable to maintain a minimal standard of living when making monthly payments. They must also prove that such circumstances are unlikely to change for an extended period of time but that they made a good faith effort to repay the loans regardless.
How Do You Go About Discharging Student Loans?
In order to discharge student loans, you must file a lawsuit in addition to the standard bankruptcy petition. Known as an adversary proceeding, this suit gives the lender the opportunity to challenge the discharge. Depending on the circumstances of your alleged undue hardship and the strength of the evidence you provide, the judge overseeing the proceedings will decide to order a full discharge, a partial discharge, or no discharge at all.
If the judge orders a full discharge, all the loans will be erased, so you no longer have to make regular payments. A partial discharge, on the other hand, will only eliminate some of the debt. And if your request is denied entirely, you'll have to pay back all the debt; however, the court may order the lender to adjust the terms of the loan so they're more manageable.
To see if you may be able to discharge student loans through bankruptcy, turn to The Gil Law Firm. Based in Dothan, AL, and serving clients throughout Florida and Georgia as well, this firm is led by Attorney Rafael Gil III. Since 2000, he’s been helping individuals with debt relief. He also practices personal injury law and Social Security law. To learn about the attentive counsel he provides, visit his website. Call (334) 673-0100 to schedule your initial consultation.