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What debts can you discharge in a bankruptcy?

One of the biggest benefits of seeking bankruptcy protection is the opportunity to emerge from court supervision with a mostly clean slate because most of your debts have been discharged.

A bankruptcy filing can allow you to get relief from the following debts:

  • Credit card bills
  • Medical bills
  • Utility bills
  • Unsecured loans
  • The balance of your car loan (if you are willing to surrender the car)
  • Lawsuit judgments against you, except in certain circumstances
  • Unpaid lease obligations
  • Condo and homeowner association fees (in a Chapter 13 filing)

Even if you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, where you consolidate your debts into a monthly payment, at the end of your bankruptcy, the remaining balance of your unsecured debts will be discharged.

What you cannot discharge in bankruptcy

Of course, bankruptcy is not a cure-all for all of your debts. The bankruptcy code contains numerous types of debts that you cannot discharge, meaning that you will still be responsible for them in full. Those include:

  • Child support payments
  • Alimony payments
  • Back mortgage payments (unless you surrender your house in foreclosure)
  • Debts not discharged in a prior bankruptcy
  • Student loans except in rare circumstances
  • Recent state, federal and local tax debts
  • Fines and other financial penalties from a criminal conviction

Talk to a bankruptcy lawyer to understand your options

While these lists may seem like absolutes, there are certain circumstances where you may not be able to discharge debts, and other times where you may actually have a viable case for discharging a debt.

Our bankruptcy lawyers at the Quinn Law Firm can help you determine what you will and will not be able to do. We are one of northwest Pennsylvania's oldest and largest law firms, and we have helped countless individuals, families and businesses through the bankruptcy process. To learn more, you can call our office in Erie, Pennsylvania, at 814-833-2222.

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