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Is My Debt Dischargeable?


Before you take any steps to file for personal bankruptcy, it is essential that you speak with a bankruptcy attorney in West Palm Beach to determine whether or not your debt is dischargeable — especially if you are planning to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. While there are other benefits to reorganization bankruptcies (for example, through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing you may be able to stop a foreclosure and keep your home, or catch up on other secured and unsecured debts), but the dischargeability of debts is nonetheless important.

What does it mean if a debt is dischargeable, and why does it matter? When a debt is discharged, the debtor is no longer legally liable for it. In order for a debt ultimately to be discharged in a consumer bankruptcy case, it must be dischargeable. How can you know if your debt is dischargeable? Our firm has some tips for you.

Identify “Non-Dischargeable” Debt Types in the Bankruptcy Code 

The Bankruptcy Code lists specific types of debt that are classified as “non-dischargeable.” It is important to understand what these debts include. At the same time, for some of the debts identified as “non-dischargeable,” there are exceptions that you should also consider. Some types of debts that are generally going to be non-dischargeable in any individual bankruptcy case include, for example:

  • Family support debt, such as debt due to unpaid alimony or child support;
  • Recent tax debt;
  • Debt you owe because of a personal injury DUI judgment; and
  • Criminal restitution debts you owe.

Student Loans Are Listed as “Non-Dischargeable” But There is An Important Exception 

You should know that the Bankruptcy Code identifies educational debts as non-dischargeable, but there is a very important exception: they are non-dischargeable unless the debtor can prove an undue hardship. The Department of Justice also recently issued new guidance for how evidence of an undue hardship would be submitted by a debtor and considered, so it is essential to keep in mind that you might be able to have your student loan debt discharged if you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Common Dischargeable Debts 

In addition to understanding what types of debts cannot be discharged, you should learn about debts that can be discharged. The following are common dischargeable debts in bankruptcy cases:

  • Credit card debt;
  • Medical debt;
  • Motor vehicle loan debt;
  • Personal loan debt; and
  • Mortgage debt.

Contact a West Palm Beach Bankruptcy Attorney 

If you have any questions about the dischargeability of your debt, it is essential to get in touch with an experienced West Palm Beach bankruptcy attorney at Kelley Kaplan & Eller to learn more about your circumstances. While many types of debts are indeed dischargeable, you will want to ensure that your debts (or at least the majority of them) can be discharged if you file for personal bankruptcy. Remember that business debts are not discharged in a Chapter 7 case since the business closes and there is no longer an entity in existence, so there is no need to worry about dischargeability in a Chapter 7 business bankruptcy (although this is a critical consideration in a Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy case). Contact our firm today to find out more about your options and to get help from one of our lawyers.



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