Can my old debt come back after my bankruptcy?
Worried clients ask me this all the time, fearful that the relief they get from their creditors in bankruptcy is only temporary.
The short answer is no.
Debt that is discharged, wiped out, in your bankruptcy case is gone as a legal liability forever.
The automatic stay that stops collectors when you file bankruptcy is replaced, at the end of the case, with the discharge injunction.
But then, this is law, so nothing is quite that simple.
The bankruptcy discharge eliminates your personal liability for dischargeable debts.
If there is no personal liability, your former creditor can’t sue you for money and get a judgment that allows it to levy your assets or garnish your wages.
Was the debt discharged
Bankruptcy law carves out some debts that aren’t discharged in bankruptcy. Debts must be listed in your bankruptcy schedules to be discharged. But, just because they are listed doesn’t mean they necessarily go away.
Debts that can’t be discharged include
- child support,
- recent taxes,
- judgments for personal injury caused by drunk driving.
Unfortunately, the discharge order that is issued by the court at the end of a bankruptcy case doesn’t list the debts that are discharged. It just says that the dischargeable debts are gone.
Is there a lien
The bankruptcy discharge wipes out the personal liability for a debt. But liens that have attached to assets before the bankruptcy remain as a charge against those assets. [Read more…]