People seeking relief from debt through bankruptcy do so with the understanding that in doing so their credit card bills will be wiped away, as well as most of their other unsecured debt. But those who don’t spend time doing the research into the ins and outs of the process risk having unrealistic expectations about how they will be impacted, and particularly on what debts they will still have to pay. Some debts are notoriously difficult to discharge through bankruptcy, but others are specifically not eligible for discharge. It is important that anybody considering a bankruptcy filing familiarize themselves with these exceptions so that they are not surprised at the outcome they encounter.

The first thing that debtors need to understand is that even among the debts that are normally dischargeable, creditors may attempt to stop the debtor from avoiding payment. They can file motions to the court to excuse them from the stay that prevents them from pursuing collection actions. Further, student loan debts and income tax debts are generally not dischargeable unless the debtor can provide a significant justification for why they should be relieved of their debt or permitted to renegotiate the amount that they owe.

Beyond these debts that are a challenge to discharge, there are other 21 categories of debts that simply cannot be discharged no matter how desperate the debtor’s financial situation. These debts include:

  • Alimony
  • Child Support
  • Debts obtained through fraud, embezzlement, or larceny
  • Debts where the borrower was acting in a fiduciary capacity
  • Debts for willful injury or wrongful death
  • Unpaid withholding tax, Social Security tax, income tax or other back taxes or tax penalties
  • Mortgage debt
  • Condominium or cooperation association fees
  • Debts not discharged in a previous bankruptcy filing
  • Debt from borrowing against some retirement plans
  • Court fees

It is also important to note that you cannot discharge credit card debt over a certain threshold incurred within 90 days of filing for bankruptcy. There is a long history of people foolishly running up big credit card bills in the days and weeks before filing for bankruptcy under the misapprehension that they would end up getting the things that they purchased for “free.”

Filing for bankruptcy is a big decision and one that should not be made without the proper guidance. To meet with one of our bankruptcy attorneys to discuss your situation, contact our office.


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