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