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Am I able to get my student loan discharged in bankruptcy?

Many residents of Massachusetts have to pay back college or graduate school loans in addition to meeting their other financial obligations each month. When money is otherwise tight, such as one family member loses a job or incurs an unexpected medical bill, it can be tough for people to make these student loan payments regularly.

People in financial straits may turn to bankruptcy as a means to get debt relief from their student loans and other obligations. However, with respect to student loans, bankruptcy law generally does not allow a person to discharge his or her student loans. Student loan debt will ordinarily remain fully collectible following a bankruptcy.

This is not to say that a person can never discharge a student loan; however, a debtor will have an uphill battle in doing so. For one, during his or her bankruptcy, he or she will have to file a request called an "adversary proceeding" in order to give his or her creditors, including the holder of the student loan debt, an opportunity to object.

Furthermore, he or she will have to show that paying the loan will inflict financial hardship. In order to meet these criteria, a person has to show that the student loan will make it impractical even to keep up a very meager standard of living for some length of time. A tight month every now and then will not qualify as a financial hardship.

Finally, a person has to show that he or she made some efforts to pay off the loan before filing the bankruptcy.

Although it is difficult to get a student loan discharged, it is not impossible. Moreover, even if a student loan cannot be discharged, a bankruptcy still might be able to help a family free up enough expendable income to pay down the student loan and still maintain a consistent standard of living.

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