Many borrowers in Pennsylvania and elsewhere are struggling to repay their student loans. Naturally, they may wonder if they can discharge this overwhelming debt in a personal bankruptcy filing. The reality is that a student loan usually cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, but there is an exception.
If borrowers are experiencing undue hardship, they may be able to discharge their debt. The Brunner test is the specific test used in most circuit courts to determine if a borrower truly is experiencing this type of hardship. To pass the Brunner test, borrowers must have extenuating circumstances where they cannot repay their student loans and still maintain a minimum living standard. In addition, these circumstances must continue during their student loan repayment terms, and the borrowers must have made an effort to repay their loans.
To start the process of discharging his or her student loan, a struggling borrower must file an adversary proceeding. This is basically a lawsuit filed within the bankruptcy court. During the proceeding, the borrower can claim that repaying his or her loan would lead to undue hardship. If a judge agrees with the debtor's claim, his or her debt will be eliminated.
Sometimes, borrowers end up with more liabilities than assets due to subpar job or economic situations. Fortunately, they may be able to get rid of their overwhelming debt by filing for personal bankruptcy. An attorney can help debtors in Pennsylvania to navigate the complex bankruptcy filing process and ensure that their best interests and rights are protected from start to finish.