Bankruptcy is an effective course of action for alleviating several types of debt, including credit card debt, mortgages, car loans, and medical bills. The system of bankruptcy is designed to provide debt relief if a filer is struggling with these common financial woes, but it’s not a system necessarily meant to relieve another very common debt: student loans. In fact, at Behm Law Group, Ltd., we often counsel against filing for bankruptcy based on the goal of ridding only student debt. There are situations, however, where you can prove your circumstances demand student loan debt relief in Owatonna, MN.
In the case where you find you may be able to prove your inability to repay student loans, it’s crucial to have the legal assistance of a bankruptcy attorney. In order to obtain debt relief in a bankruptcy case for your student loans, you must be able to prove that you would suffer “undue hardship” if you were forced to repay those loans.
Undue hardship describes a situation in which you may be pushed into poverty and have minimal resources available to you for food, rent, clothes, healthcare, and transportation if you’re forced to continue paying a certain debt. In the case of repaying student loans, it’s very difficult to prove to a court that you may experience undue hardship.
You may have no income other than government support and may be able to prove you won’t be able to have a normal working life due to a disability, and yet, a court may still deny your request for student loan discharge. Without the right support during the legal navigation of student loans in bankruptcy (i.e. the help of a bankruptcy attorney,) it’s a long shot that you’ll have an argument that a bankruptcy court will approve.
How bankruptcy courts determine undue hardship for purposes of qualifying for student loan debt relief depends on where you live in the United States. Some courts will use the Totality of Circumstances Test. With this standard/test, a bankruptcy court can consider all aspects of your financial situation in determining whether you will be able to repay your student loan debt. However, some courts in other areas of the United States use other tests. For example, another widely utilized test is the Brunner Test, which tests your situation against measures of poverty, the persistence of your current financial conditions, and your good faith in student loan repayment efforts. Other courts may use a test for Health Education Assistance Loans (HEAL) to determine if your student loans are unreasonably damaging your quality of life.
While you may be able to get student loan debt relief in bankruptcy, undue hardship can be difficult to prove. If you have questions concerning student loan debt relief in Owatonna, MN, contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 for a consultation today.