When you file for bankruptcy, you’re getting the benefit of several state or federal protections. There are many different reasons why people ultimately file, but no matter how you came to the office of a bankruptcy lawyer, you’re going to get the same general protections provided to you. One of these is the discharge of the majority of your debt if you file Chapter 7. Not all debts can be discharged, but many may be eligible.
A bankruptcy discharge officially releases a debtor from any personal liability for certain types of debts. It’s important to remember that even if you are eligible to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy, this does not necessarily mean you’ll be able to discharge every debt you have. For example, debtors are not able to discharge debts such as child support, award claims from personal injury lawsuits, student loans, and taxes. For this reason, it’s important to sit down with an experienced bankruptcy attorney at the outset of your case to discuss your decision and identify whether or not it’s right for you.
However, debts that are not included in the exemption list can be discharged in a bankruptcy. A debtor is not personally liable for discharged debts, but a valid lien that has not been avoided can still remain after the bankruptcy case is complete. For this reason, a secured creditor may be eligible to enforce the lien to recover the property that is secured by it.
The timing of your discharge will vary, but sitting down with an experienced bankruptcy attorney can help make you more aware of what to expect. In Chapter 7, usually the court will grant the discharge as soon as the time has expired for filing a complaint objecting to the discharge. This is usually 60 days following the first date set for the creditors’ meeting.
This typically happens approximately 4 months after the debtor has filed a petition, but of course, the circumstances of your case may make it slightly different. Having an initial consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer will open your eyes as to what you need to do to protect yourself.