Baldwin & Briscoe P.C.
301-862-4400
22335 Exploration Drive Ste. 2030
Lexington Park, MD 20653
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Student Loans and Bankruptcy

 

Quick Links
Overview
Hardship
The Brunner Test’s Three Prongs
Minimal Living Standard
Additional Circumstances
Good Faith
Success

 

Overview

The Law Offices of Baldwin and Briscoe have experienced attorneys who have dealt with, and continue to deal with bankruptcy cases. One such bankruptcy matter we here at the Law Offices of Baldwin and Briscoe handle is student loan debts when it comes to bankruptcy.  We have fought and continue to fight to have your student loans absorbed.   

 

Hardship

The Brunner test is the test used in Maryland to obtain “undue hardship” discharge of student loan debt.  The three step test, also known as the three prong tests, entails:

1.   That the debtor, based on current income and expenses, cannot maintain the “minimal” standard of living for themselves and their dependents, if they have to pay back the debt;

2.   That the debtor has additional circumstances that will exist throughout the significance of the repayment period; and

3.   That the debtor has made “good faith” efforts to pay back the loans.

In proving that a person has undue hardship, that person must put on evidence before the court that satisfies the elements of the Brunner’s test.  The “undue hardship” Brunner test is to help safeguard loan providers from abusive borrowers. 

 

The Brunner Test’s Three Prongs

Minimal Living Standard

For the first elements of the test, the court must do a calculation of the “minimal” standard of living in a certain area.  In doing so, the court must determine the “minimal” amount of money needed for food, clothing, medical expenses, and shelter, and subtract that amount from what the person makes. If the total monthly expense for the debtor equals or exceeds the amount of money he or she makes, then the court will determine that he or she meets the “minimal” living standard of the test. For example, the minimal living expenses in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, might be lower than the minimal living expenses for someone living in Baltimore City.

 

Additional Circumstances

For the second prong of the Brunner test, the plaintiff must show certainty of hopelessness in his or her abilities to pay back the loan.  To show a certainty of hopelessness in proving “additional circumstances,” the debtor must show that he or she suffers from an illness, disability, lack of usable job skills, or the existence of a large number of dependents.  If the debtor can prove just one of the factors of certainty of hopelessness listed above, then the plaintiff meets the second prong of the Brunner test. 

 

Good Faith

The good faith prong of the Brunner’s test looks specifically at the debtor’s efforts he or she has made at obtaining employment, maximizing income, and minimizing expenses, to ensure that the debtor’s hardship occurs from circumstances beyond the debtor’s control.  The “good faith” requirement of the Brunner test, however, does not mean that the debtor has to pay on the loan, only that he or she tried to make an effort to pay on the loan.  Further, the debtor should try to work with the lender to lower loan payments, but if he or she does not do so, the debtor may still be relieved of the debt under the “good faith” prong of the Brunner’s test. 

 

Success

If the debtor can prove that he or she satisfies every element of the Brunner test, he or she will be discharged from their student loans. 


The information on this website is not legal advice.  For more information about your specific legal matter, contact a practicing attorney at the Law Offices of Baldwin and Briscoe. 



The Law Offices of Baldwin & Briscoe, P.C. also offers these services:

Bankruptcy and ForeclosureBusiness LawCivil LitigationCriminal DefenseEmployment, Disability, and Consumer RightsFamily LawGovernment Contracts LawIntellectual Property, Personal InjuryReal Estate, Social Security Disability & Workers’ Compensation and Wills, Trusts, & Estates

  


Contact Us

The Law Offices of Baldwin, Briscoe & Steinmetz, P.C.

22335 Exploration Drive

Suite 2030

Lexington Park, MD 20653

301-862-4400 Phone

301-862-3009 Fax

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Our Attorneys

Samuel C.P. Baldwin, Jr., Esq.

Janice Briscoe, Esq.

Richard J. Steinmetz Jr., Esq.

David J. Hebb, Esq.

Sandra Kaufman Jonasen, Esq.


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With an office conveniently located in Lexington Park, The Law Offices of Baldwin, Briscoe & Stienmetz, P.C. serves clients in the counties and cities of Lexington Park, Leonardtown, Hollywood, Mechanicsville, Loveville, Helen, Breton Bay, Chaptico, Charlotte Hall, Golden Beach, Avenue, La Plata, Waldorf, Newburg, Port Tobacco, Port Charles, Solomons Island, Prince Frederick, Chesapeake Shores, Hughesville, Benedict, Nanjemoy, Lusby, Port Republic, St. Mary's County, Charles County, Calvert County, Prince George's County, Southern Maryland.


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