What Debts Survive My Bankruptcy?

10 Jun What Debts Survive My Bankruptcy?

There are a number of debts that will survive a bankruptcy filing, whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is filed.

  • Child support or alimony are priority debts and those debts survive bankruptcy.
  • Debts owed to the government, whether taxes, fines or restitution–Some taxes owed before filing are discharged; others are not.   The rules for determining which kinds are sometimes dischargeable and which are not ever dischargeable are complicated and have been the subject of numerous posts here on the Bankruptcy Law Network,including Kent Anderson’s advice on what can be done if bankruptcy doesn’t discharge the tax. Kent Anderson’s post on highway use taxes is found here. Peter Orville’s post on business taxes that survive is found here.
  • Student loan debt is sometimes dischargeable, but it is difficult.

Those are the easy-to-spot debts, the ones where an attorney knows there will be issues.   But there are other debts which may be non-dischargeable. Those debts are the ones where the debt was incurred because of embezzlement, fraud, larceny, or a breach of some fiduciary duty.   A fiduciary duty is one where the debtor is in some position of trust where the debtor is required to manage money or property.  Examples are spouses, an executor of an estate, a guardian of an estate, a partner, a mortgage broker, or even an attorney for their client.

Other debts which the Court may find non-dischargeable (the creditor has to bring this matter before the judge):

  • Debts incurred because of some willful and/or malicious act  (in Chapter 7, the act of the debtor must be both willful AND malicious; in Chapter 13, the act of the debtor must be willful OR malicious).
  • Debts incurred as the result of a driving while under the unfluence where the debtor caused personal injury.
  • Debts incurred for luxury goods or cash taken immediately before bankruptcy from a credit card.
  • Debts incurred as the result of the debtor’s fraud or lying on a credit application.
  • Debts that are not listed on the bankruptcy schedules (if the creditors get paid, like in a Chapter 13), the unlisted creditor didn’t have a chance to apply for payment.

An experienced attorney can look at your debts and provide legal advice on whether all or some of your debts fit into the non-dischargeable category.

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I'm a consumer protection lawyer in Oregon, working with people in Klamath; Lake; Jackson; Josephine; Curry; and Deschutes County. I speak regularly on bankruptcy and consumer protection issues nationwide.

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