Defining undue hardship in bankruptcy

| Aug 15, 2019 | consumer bankruptcy | 0 comments

Some debts, such as student loans, cannot be discharged under ordinary bankruptcy proceedings. However, bankruptcy filers still have recourse in the event paying off some loans or debts would be too cumbersome to attempt. If you are in this situation, you can make an argument to a Kentucky bankruptcy court that paying off some of your debts would be impossible due to undue hardship.

 According to Forbes, undue hardship has not been specifically defined by a law of Congress, so there is no binding standard on the courts that describes what undue hardship is. However, many courts determine hardship by the standards of the Brunnertest. To develop an argument for undue hardship, examining whether your circumstances meet the Brunner standards is a good place to start.

 Forbes explains that complying with the Brunner standards requires a person to show that intervening circumstances do not make it possible to repay a loan and keep up a minimum living standard. Basically, trying to repay a loan would not make it feasible to afford basic living expenses, such as food or medicine. The bankruptcy filer also has to demonstrate that he or she tried in good faith to pay back the loan. This does not require that actual payments were made, only that such payments were attempted.

 Nerdwallet points out that bankruptcy filers generally have to argue why their financial status is unlikely to change during the remaining period of the loan. Courts may accept that a person with a physical or mental disability meets this standard. Some bankruptcy filers show that they have reached the fullest extent of their earning potential in the fields they work in. Courts may also grant hardship if a bankruptcy filer possesses a poor educational background.

These basic standards are common to most federal courts, but there may be some variances in determining undue hardship depending on the court that hears the case. Some courts may take other factors into account while judging hardship, such as the health or age of the bankruptcy filer. Bankruptcy filers can consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to understand ways to demonstrate undue hardship.