Part VII: What is the process or procedure for getting my student loans discharged?
In the final segment of the series, we will be discussing the process or procedure for getting your student loans discharged. Student loans do not automatically get discharged when you file the bankruptcy case.
They are presumed to be non-dischargeable unless you file what is called an adversarial proceeding complaint seeking a discharge of your student loans based upon undue hardship. The adversarial proceeding is associated with your bankruptcy case, but it’s a totally different proceeding with a different case number.
The first step is to determine if you meet the requirements previously mentioned so you have a likelihood of success when you file the adversarial proceeding. There is a process of collecting your student loan payment history and noticing the proper defendants when the lawsuit/adversarial proceeding gets filed.
There is now an attestation form that is filled out with supporting documentation to streamline the process. This is intended to encourage the department of education and trustee’s office to be able to stipulate to some facts without unnecessary litigation. The attestation form goes over some of the same categories as the bankruptcy petition such as your current income and expenses, future inability to repay your student loans, prior efforts to repay your student loans, and current assets.
There is additional costs associated with the adversarial proceeding such as additional attorney’s fees so you would need to budget the attorney’s fees and costs to file both the bankruptcy case and your student loan adversarial case. A ballpark estimate for both would be approximately $5,000-$6,000.