Understanding the Bankruptcy Discharge

January 26, 2024 The Law Office of Matt Cree

hand holding paper that says financial freedom

For many grappling with overwhelming debt, filing for bankruptcy can be the path to a new financial beginning. A key part of this process is the bankruptcy discharge. This often brings relief and a sense of closure.

1. What is the Bankruptcy Discharge?

A discharge in bankruptcy is a court order that releases you from personal liability for certain types of debts. This means that you are no longer legally required to pay any debts that are discharged. The bankruptcy discharge permanently prohibits most creditors from taking any form of collection action on discharged debts, sending collection letters, making calls, and filing lawsuits.

2. Timing of the Bankruptcy Discharge

The timing of a discharge varies depending on the type of bankruptcy filed:

Chapter 7 (Liquidation Bankruptcy): Debtors typically receive their discharge relatively quickly, usually within 3 to 6 months from the filing date.
Chapter 13 (Reorganization Bankruptcy): In Chapter 13, the discharge is granted upon the completion of all payments under the repayment plan, which can take 3 to 5 years.

3. Debts Covered by a Bankruptcy Discharge

While a bankruptcy discharge is comprehensive, it does not apply to all types of debts. Common debts discharged in bankruptcy include credit card debt, medical bills, personal loans, and more. However, certain debts are not dischargeable, including:

- Student loans (unless extreme hardship is proven).
- Alimony and child support obligations.
- Certain tax debts.
- Debts for personal injury caused by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

4. The Implications for Creditors

Once a debt is discharged, creditors are prohibited from attempting to collect it. Any attempt to collect a discharged debt can be a violation of the court order, and the debtor can file a motion with the court to report the action and seek remedies.

5. Impact on Your Credit Report

A bankruptcy discharge will impact your credit report, but not indefinitely. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 10 years, while Chapter 13 remains for 7 years. Over time, the negative impact of the bankruptcy decreases, especially if you adopt good financial habits post-bankruptcy.

6. Life After Discharge

Obtaining a discharge in bankruptcy can be a major relief, but it's also the beginning of rebuilding your financial life. It’s an opportunity for a fresh start, with the responsibility to better manage your finances. Budgeting, rebuilding your credit score, and saving are essential steps in this new chapter.

7. Legal Advice and Guidance

Navigating bankruptcy can be complex. Seeking the advice of a bankruptcy attorney can provide clarity on what a discharge means for your specific situation and help you understand your rights and obligations.

If you are interested in discussing how a bankruptcy discharge can impact your financial situation for the better, please contact Matthew Cree for a FREE no obligation consultation by clicking here.

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