Chapter 7 bankruptcy could allow you to get rid of a significant amount of your debt. However, some debt cannot be discharged through bankruptcy.
Debt that Cannot Be Discharged
There are numerous types of debt that bankruptcy won’t usually eliminate, including:
- Federal student loan debt (unless you can show a hardship)
- Some tax debt, e.g. back taxes owed to the IRS
- Unscheduled debts, meaning debts that weren’t listed on your petition for bankruptcy (unless your creditor had previous notification of your filing or your Chapter 7 is a no-asset case)
- Debts stemming from unpaid child/spousal support or alimony
- Attorney fees from child custody/support cases
- Debts owed to ex-spouse or children that stemmed from a separation or divorce (unless you file a Chapter 13)
- Fines and penalties owed to government agencies (civil fines can be discharged in a Chapter 13 filing)
- Criminal court penalties and fines, such as criminal restitution
- Debts for personal injuries caused by you operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated
- Homeowner association fees and certain other types of cooperative or condominium housing fees (unless your house is surrendered and the mortgage company forecloses on your home)
- Debts owed to some types of tax-advantaged retirement plans
It’s important to note that bankruptcy court could disallow what appears to be dischargeable debt if you fail to abide by the provisions set under the Bankruptcy Code. Therefore, it’s important to seek and follow the advice of your attorney when pursuing a bankruptcy. Your bankruptcy lawyer will explain what types of debts you can discharge and help you file the paperwork correctly.