Not All Debts Are Treated Equally When Filing For Bankruptcy

With a struggling economic climate, millions of people file for bankruptcy every year for varied reasons, most notably due to medical expenses, reduced income or job loss. According to US bankruptcy court statistics, personal bankruptcy has increased at an alarming rate and not just as a result of irresponsible spending, but because something like a divorce means taking on a partner’s debt if you had “regrettably” co-signed or opened joint accounts with them.

Filing For Bankruptcy

Unexpected catastrophes can also quickly drain savings that took years to accumulate including mountains of student loans, the rising costs of utility payments, inflation, foreclosure the list is endless. Bankruptcy laws are in place to give people whose finances have collapsed and need a second chance to start over. According to statistics from the American Bankruptcy Institute, nearly 95% of Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases decided in 2016 were discharged, meaning the individual was no longer legally required to pay the debt. But what about the other 4.5%?

If you are contemplating bankruptcy, you should consider discussing your options with an experienced bankruptcy attorney who works on liquidation bankruptcies where most of your debts are discharged or liquidated under bankruptcy law. A bankruptcy lawyer will also help you in compiling all your financial records, including debts, assets, income, and expenses.

The Length of Bankruptcy Process

Once you have filed for bankruptcy, the process usually takes six months or longer to complete, but the good thing is that during this time it triggers the automatic stay that prevents creditors from calling you, suing you, sending you letters, or even repossessing your property.

Items Not Discharged In Bankruptcy

When your petition is accepted, your case is assigned to a court trustee who then sets up a meeting with your creditors that you must attend. But not all petitions are accepted, for example; student loans are not discharged under a declaration of bankruptcy owing to the fact they are funded or guaranteed by the government and students are required to pay them off once they start working.

Another example of a non-dischargeable that can’t be in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy at are debts from a divorce because they are owed to a spouse but not as a domestic obligation. However, they can be included in a chapter 13 bankruptcy provided the debt becomes part of a payment plan, and the overdue payments will be continued and paid in full.

A debt incurred through fraudulent means, including one that was obtained to take advantage of the bankruptcy code, cannot be discharged. Unemployment benefits overpayments that you may be required to repay the excess, tax penalties, fines on speeding tickets and vehicle registration fees will also not be discharged in a bankruptcy.

Also, fees that are considered a priority debt, meaning you owe the federal government or local state in payroll taxes, past tax debts from previous years, current tax liability, any fees or penalties cannot be discharged under a declaration of bankruptcy, therefore, you must make an effort to pay or deal with the IRS directly.

Bohikian Law Group specializes in chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcies in Michigan. Contact us today to find a bankruptcy attorney that will help you in debt relief at today.