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Chapter 7 to discharge student loans. Is it true that if they are old enough they can be dischargeable? Heard 10 years works

Los Angeles, CA |

I don't know if this is an outdated rule or not, so my question is whether or not the student loans are many years old or not is at all relevant to whether they might be dischargeable.

Attorney Answers 5


  1. You are correct that this is not longer the law. The age of a student loan is now irrelevant.

    This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.


  2. When I first started practicing law a student loan that was at least 5 years old could be put on a chapter 7. Then later the time period was changed to 7 years. Now there is NO time period that automatically discharges a student loan, federal or private. To get a student loan discharged in a chapter 7 the debtor has to file an adversary complaint and then prove the debt is a "undue hardship" on the debtor. This is a difficult burden, very difficult to prove.

    The information provided herein is general information only and not legal advice. The information provided herein does not create an attorney client relationship and is not a substitute for having a consultation with an attorney. It is important to have a consultation with an attorney as the information provided in this forum is limited and cannot possibly cover all potential issues in a given situation.


  3. Only if you have a time machine! This hasn't been the law since the last century. Hope this perspective helps!


  4. Like Attorney Wesley, I have lived through all those changes. Now you can only prove "Undue Hardship" but other options may exist. First and foremost, you need to speak to an attorney who practices and has performed a number of student loan trials so that they can intelligently scrutinize your options. Beware finding such an attorney is hard: most (my guess is 99%) bankruptcy attorneys have NEVER conducted a student loan trial but there are some out there. I have filed over 42 student loan adversary actions in Washington State and 6 appeals and one of my trial cases is now before the 9th Circuit by the debtor acting pro se (we won at trial level). Call your bankruptcy judges and ask every clerk the names of any attorneys they have seen argue such cases. You do not indicate if you are working or unemployed at this time. I STRONGLY SUGGEST THAT IF YOU ARE NOT EMPLOYED NOT AND DO NOT EXPECT TO BE FOR SOME TIME TO DISCUSS WITH THE ATTORNEY OR WAIT AND SEE IF THE LAWS CHANGE IN THIS AREA OF LAW IN NEAR FUTURE. There has been some discussion in the political area and who knows what will happen and the difference between Federal vs Private loans in those changes! But do NOT hold your breath. Thirdly, there is a lot of cases, divergent in the area, concerning joining a Federal Program such as the WIlliam D Ford program but that program only applies to Federal, not Private loans and we don't know which you have or both. But if you have all the private loans, the ICP and IBR plans do not care what your private payments are and will not take that into consideration. So, I do discuss and go through that program with all my clients, but to state you should or should not join cannot be known w/o more facts. It takes one hour at my first meeting with clients to quickly go through many facts governing the undue hardship test! Finally, no one can advise you if you should do a ch 13 vs a ch 7 case with respect to the filing of the student loan discharge w/o knowing more facts also. And if you will have no income, you wont qualify to be in a ch 13 anyway also. The unknown facts govern any advise on filing let alone winning a student loan trial . Then, even if you do win a student loan trial, the court could impose a duty to pay some amount of payments at an unknown interest rate for an unknown number of years all depending on what the judge believes you can afford or should be able to (The Saxman case in 9th Circuit) . In addition to your joining the federal program, or litigating, you can also try and settle a case to reduce the amount and or monthly payments and or interest rate!. Some cases I file knowing we cannot win but with intent of settling also! I have a case right now where the plaintiff suing even has a program of matching the monthly payments and amount paid down to reduce the debt as part of THEIR program..and never heard of such a thing before! Thus, meet with an attorney to go through your options. Good luck.


  5. Modern law makes student loan debt subject to a high

    The law today as other responses tell you is that there must be an undue hardship proved.

    I worked on a case where a woman had been incapacitated by cancer, she was close to death and in the hospital with the Chapter 7 pending; yet no relief was awarded when the student loan was challenged.

    In other words a student loan is like super-glue

    And still yet the student lender was trying to garnish. Bottom line is, you have to dead before they give up on you.

    This is a public forum. Any questions or answers published here should not be construed as the giving or receiving of legal advice or the formation of any attorney-client relationship. You should consult with a competent attorney in the jurisdiction where your legal issues are pending and get good, solid legal advice. This being a public forum, those answers you do read are merely given for informational purposes only.

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