Not only is the legal standard for a bankruptcy discharge tough, but the actual process of trying to discharge student debt in bankruptcy is incredibly challenging, as well. In order to prove “undue hardship,” student loan borrowers must file an “adversary proceeding” in bankruptcy court as part of their bankruptcy case. Essentially, this involves suing your student loan lenders, who will fight tooth and nail to try to convince a judge that the borrower does not meet the legal standard for a discharge. This type of litigation can be very lengthy, emotionally draining, and extremely expensive when factoring in attorneys fees.
But the recent case out of New York may provide student loan borrowers with some hope. The borrower, Kevin Rosenberg, took out $116,000 in student loans. However, because of his perpetual low income and inability to pay his student loans over a period of 20 to 30 years, his balance ballooned to $221,000. The financial information he provided to the bankruptcy court showed that he was perpetually underwater in terms of his income versus his expenses. And despite his financial troubles, Rosenberg had made sincere, good faith efforts to try to repay his student loans at various points.