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Can I get rid of my student loans in Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

It might be hard to find a young adult in Illinois who is not carrying at least some student debt. Not only can these loans be tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, they are more difficult to pay back than most people realize — especially when other debt is involved. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is generally a good option for people who have fallen behind on their bills and have no hope of catching up, but student loans usually cannot be discharged through this process. However, a judge recently decided to eliminate one man’s student loan debt.

When he filed for bankruptcy, the man owed more than $221,000 for various debts, including student loans. On top of that, his monthly payments far outweighed his income, leaving him $1,500 short each and every month. The judge overseeing his bankruptcy case considered this and other factors before concluding that his student loans met the requirements for being eliminated.

In order to eliminate debt, the person filing for bankruptcy has to prove that he or she meets three different requirements, the first being that he or she has taken every reasonable effort to pay off the debts. The second is that he or she would not have a reasonable standard of living if forced to pay back the debt. The final requirement is that paying back debt within the repayment period would be impossible because of his or her financial circumstances.

Carrying debt can be a significant hardship. Even people who feel like they are handling things well can end up over their heads after just one unexpected life event. Although Chapter 7 bankruptcy might not be the first step after missing one or two payments, it is there for Illinois borrowers who simply cannot keep up with their debt.