Discharge of Debt

09 Nov Student Loans: “When You’re in a Hole, Stop Digging,” Appeals Court Agrees

The Eighth Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel upheld a lower court's ruling discharging $204,525.00 in student loans, despite the lender's argument that the debtor could have continued her education and sought higher-paying employment as a chiropractor. Shaffer v. U.S Department of Education, No. 12-601o (8th Cir.BAP Oct. 30, 2012), involved an unmarrieddebtor in her mid thirties who filed chapter 7. She started her undergraduate education at the University of Northern Iowa in 1994, and later enrolled at Iowa University, obtaining a degree in psychology in 2002. Afterward, sheattended Kirkwood Community Collegeoff and on, in order to qualify under her parents' health insurance. In 2007, the debtor enrolled at Palmer College of Chiropractic Medicine, but she left after thirteen months after concluding that her student loan debt was insurmountable. The debtor also suffered from depression, eating disorders, self harm in the form of cutting, and anxiety. In 2008 she commenced employment at a women's health clinic, but left one year later. She next worked as an accounts receivable specialist at a different employer, but left after depression caused her to take two leaves of absence, believing she was about to be fired.
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13 Oct Personal Loans, Revenge and Bankruptcy: Not a Good Combination

You are probably aware that the Bankruptcy Code includes Section 523 which sets out the rules whereby a specific debt can be deemed non-dischargeable in a bankruptcy case. Certain types of debt, such as damages arising from a DUI or past due child support, can never be discharged. Other debts, like student loans can be discharged only in very limited circumstances. In real life, the most common challenges to a debtor’s bankruptcy comes from credit card companies or other unsecured lenders. So called “credit card binge” debt serves as the most typical example of abuse of the bankruptcy process - most people would understand why a judge would not allow an unemployed debtor to buy a big screen TV and high end stereo system, then file a bankruptcy six months later, wiping out thousands of dollars of recent charges, while keeping all of his purchases. Other dischargeability challenge cases may be a little less obvious - for example, an unemployed debtor may use his credit cards to buy food, but also to purchase a new cell phone and to buy movie tickets. In these circumstances, your lawyer will most likely be able to negotiate a reasonable settlement of the challenge, leaving some debt to survive your case but payable under reasonable terms. Credit card and other vendor challenges can give rise to litigation, but usually in those cases I can see the problem coming and the resolution usually involves a financial settlement.
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