Discharge of Debtor

Bankruptcy Discharge Order

The goal of people who file for bankruptcy is to be discharged of their debts and obtain a fresh start. A discharge releases a debtor from personal liability for certain dischargeable debts and prevents a creditor from taking any action against the debtor or the debtor’s property to collect those discharged debts.

 Each case is different, but a general rule is that in a Chapter 7 case a discharge will enter 60 - 90 days after the filing. In a Chapter 11 case, a discharge is obtained when the plan is confirmed and other Bankruptcy Code requirements have been satisfied. In Chapter 13 cases, a discharge will enter upon the completion of the plan (36-60 months after filing). The entry of a discharge may take longer if there is a challenge to the discharge by a creditor, Trustee or US Trustee. A discharge may also be denied if the Debtor has hidden or destroyed property, falsified records or disobeyed a Court order.

Certain debts such as alimony, child support, criminal fines and/or judgments, taxes, and student loans may still be owed after a bankruptcy case has ended. Debts not listed on the bankruptcy schedules or incurred after the bankruptcy was filed are generally not discharged. Most student loans are not discharged unless the debtor files a separate legal action seeking a discharge on account of undue hardship. Creditors may file complaints objecting to the discharge of their particular debt. The filing of a bankruptcy may not prevent a mortgage foreclosure or repossession of a vehicle. In these situations, you should seek legal advice.

The discharge will not be entered if the debtor fails to complete an instructional course on personal financial management. In a Chapter 7 case, this course must be completed within 45 days of the First Meeting of Creditors and a Certification of Completion (Form 23) must be filed with the Court. Failure to complete the Financial Management Course and file a certificate with the Court may result in the Debtor’s case being closed without a discharge. If this happens, the debtor will have to pay the full filing fee to reopen the case and file any missing documents in order to receive a discharge.

In addition, you may not be eligible to receive a discharge if you had a previous bankruptcy filing.