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How Long Does Bankruptcy Discharge Take?

When you decide to file for bankruptcy many steps need to happen before your debts are forgiven and you can start rebuilding your financial future. Part of the process is waiting for debts to get discharged. A bankruptcy discharge is an important step because it will take the debt burden off your shoulders so that you can begin to look forward. 

We’re going to take a closer look at bankruptcy discharge as well as how long this part of the process takes. We’ll also learn what types of debts are and are not included in the bankruptcy discharge process.

What Does Bankruptcy Discharge Mean?

Bankruptcy discharge means that the debtor is released from personal liability for certain types of debts. If you owe money on certain debts, you will no longer be required to pay them. This prevents creditors from taking action on any money that was owed. 

Unless there are legal proceedings that involve objections to the discharge, the debtor will usually receive a discharge automatically. The bankruptcy court will mail a copy of the order to all creditors. They are not allowed to contact the debtor in any way regarding the debt. If they do, the debtor can file a motion with the court and ask that the case be reopened. The bankruptcy court will usually agree to ensure that the discharge order is not being violated.

Do All Debts Get Discharged?

Filing for bankruptcy will not erase all of your debts. Many are not included in a bankruptcy discharge. These types of debts include:

  • Most federal student loans
  • Tax-related debts, absent some exceptions
  • Spousal or child support or alimony
  • Government fines and penalties
  • Some retirement plan loans
  • Debts not included in court filings

Knowing the types of debt that can’t be discharged is important because it can help determine whether or not filing for bankruptcy is right for you. If most of your debts fall under any of the above categories, you’ll want to carefully think about your decision. The debts discharged vary under each chapter of the Bankruptcy Code. If you are concerned about a specific debt, it’s best to check where it stands in terms of the type of bankruptcy you’re filing.

In a chapter 7 bankruptcy case, the debtor may not always be granted a discharge. A creditor can file an objection which then starts a lawsuit. The court can deny a discharge for several reasons including:

  • Failure to provide requested tax documents
  • Transfer or concealment of property with the intent to defraud creditors
  • Destruction of records

Under chapters 13 and 11 cases, the debtor is usually entitled to a discharge after completing the agreed-upon payment plan.

When Do Debts Get Discharged?

When people file for bankruptcy they want their debts discharged as quickly as possible. The exact timing will depend on what chapter bankruptcy was filed. In chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court typically grants the discharge quickly. This can happen about four months after bankruptcy is filed with the court.

Under chapters 11 and 13 bankruptcies, the court generally grants the discharge once the debtor completes all payments under the plan. With these types of bankruptcies, a payment plan can take anywhere from 3-5 years. Typically, a bankruptcy discharge is made about four years after the filing date.

After a bankruptcy discharge is granted, a debtor can decide to voluntarily repay a debt. This happens in cases when a family member may be owed money and the debtor wants to fulfill an obligation.

Can a Bankruptcy Discharge Get Revoked?

A bankruptcy discharge can get revoked under circumstances. A creditor may request that a discharge get revoked in a chapter 7 bankruptcy case if they believe the discharge was obtained fraudulently. A request to revoke a discharge must be made within one year that it was granted.

In chapters 11, 12, and 13 cases, a discharge can get revoked if it was obtained through fraudulent means.

Are You Facing Bankruptcy? Contact Us

If you’re facing bankruptcy and have questions, the team at Stiberman Law can help. With more than 13 years of experience in bankruptcy law, we can guide you along the process. Call us today at (954) 922-2283 to schedule a free consultation with a Florida bankruptcy attorney.

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