When you file for bankruptcy, the court may decide to eliminate certain debts by discharging them. The debts that cannot be discharged by the court have to be paid. Filing for bankruptcy does not automatically discharge your student loans. If you wish to have your student loans discharged, you will have to file a separate motion with the bankruptcy courts.

Can Student Loans Be Discharged in Bankruptcy?

Contrary to popular opinion, student loans can be discharged in bankruptcy. It may be difficult to discharge student loans but it is not impossible. In fact, the department of education has taken steps to ensure that this is possible.

It is true that when it comes to student loans it might be more difficult to discharge them than other types of secured debt. When it comes to student loans unless you can show that the payment of the loan poses an undue hardship on your family, your defendants, and you, it cannot be discharged.

How Do Courts Determine Undue Hardship?

It is difficult to meet the requirements for undue hardships and it rarely happens but it is possible. The courts use several methods to test if the person has faced undue hardship. They regularly use Brunner test to evaluate if your claim is valid. The other test that can be used is the totality of circumstance test.

When it comes to the totality of circumstance test, the court will consider your past, present, and future resources. They will also consider reasonably necessary living expenses and other relevant facts and circumstances.

For the Brunner test, you will have to file a separate motion with the bankruptcy courts. Thereafter you will have to appear in in front of a judge to explain your hardship. You must show that; you made efforts to repay the loans through past payments or arranging for payments, you are unable to maintain a minimal standard of living for yourself and your family, and that the circumstances that exist that are stopping you from repaying the loan, are unlikely to improve. However, it is up to the court to decide if you meet the undue hardship standard. If you are able to prove that you face undue hardships, your student loans will be discharged.

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