What Is A Bankruptcy Dischargeshould I Get Bankruptcy Records For My File
A bankruptcy discharge order frees the debtor from personal liability for various types of debt. In addition, the bankruptcy discharge order acts as a permanent order prohibiting creditors from attempting any collection action about the discharged debts.
A creditor cannot collect upon a debt when the bankruptcy court discharges it in either a chapter 7 bankruptcy or a chapter 13 bankruptcy. For this reason it is important to keep a copy of your bankruptcy discharge. If you lost or misplaced your copy you should try to get a copy of your bankruptcy records.
Which Bankruptcy Documents Should You Keep
The short answer? Everything you have. Getting copies of your bankruptcy documents from your lawyer is often a time consuming process, especially if your case was discharged more than 7 years ago or the copies have been moved to off site archives. Obtaining your bankruptcy documents from federal court officials can be costly and even more time consuming than getting them from your lawyer.
As with all important documents, it is best to have your own archive readily accessible. That way you dont have to scramble to get copies if something crops up that requires these papers. These are the documents you need to keep ideally:
- Bankruptcy petition, supporting schedules, and exhibits
- Statements, disclosures, and declarations
May The Debtor Pay A Discharged Debt After The Bankruptcy Case Has Been Concluded
A debtor who has received a discharge may voluntarily repay any discharged debt. A debtor may repay a discharged debt even though it can no longer be legally enforced. Sometimes a debtor agrees to repay a debt because it is owed to a family member or because it represents an obligation to an individual for whom the debtor’s reputation is important, such as a family doctor.
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Keep Your Bankruptcy Papers
Life is full of papers we dont need but have laying around the house anyways junk mail, old receipts for things we wont return, old school work, even decades old pay stubs. As a society thats working towards becoming paperless, weve got a long way to go. But what about bankruptcy papers, especially your discharge paperwork? How long should you keep those? Honestly, outside of your will, no document should be treated with more reverence than that discharge paperwork.
The Pacer System & Court Records
A bankruptcy filing becomes public record after you submit your bankruptcy petition. Someone from the court will upload your documents and bankruptcy schedule into the Pacer system.
The PACER system is a program used by the federal courts to keep track of any and all court documents. Any kind of paperwork that goes through a court will usually be added to the PACER system, and can therefore be accessed by the public. To access the system, you need to create a PACER account and pay a small fee per page that is viewed.
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Bankruptcy Process And Discharge
When individual debtors file for bankruptcy, most of their debts are discharged at the conclusion of their bankruptcy case. In Chapter 7 cases, a debtor’s non-exempt assets are seized, and the proceeds are used to pay creditors. This is a short process lasting usually a few months, after which any remaining unpaid debts are discharged and the debtor is no longer legally responsible for them. In Chapter 13 cases, a debtor pays his debts with a repayment plan that lasts three to five years. As with Chapter 7, any unpaid debts left behind are discharged as long as the debtor completes all obligations under the plan.
At the completion of the case, the court enters an order discharging debtor, which is public record and available to you and to anyone else who wants to find it. Read More:What Happens After Bankruptcy Discharge?
Contact The Clerk Of The Court
The first place to check when you need a copy of your bankruptcy discharge papers is with the Clerk of the Court where your case was filed. Some courts will allow you to search the record online for free, while others charge a fee for searches. If you need copies of the document, there will be a fee as well. Copies of the document are often a charge per page. If it has been many years, the case may have been archived, so additional fees may apply.
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How To Find The Date A Bankruptcy Was Discharged
Finding your bankruptcy discharge order is the simplest way to find the date your bankruptcy was discharged. When a person files for bankruptcy, they eventually receive a bankruptcy discharge that signifies the end of the process and releases the debtor from personal liability for their debts. All debts involved in the bankruptcy case are no longer legally enforceable. The discharge is a permanent order prohibiting any creditors listed in your bankruptcy petition from making any contact with you or taking any action to collect the discharged debts.
If you plan on applying for credit after completing bankruptcy, new lenders may require you to provide proof that your discharge has taken place. If you are uncertain of the date of your bankruptcy discharge, there are a few different ways to find it.
There Are Several Ways To Get A Copy Of Your Bankruptcy Discharge Order
There are several ways to get a copy of your bankruptcy discharge order and related paperwork. The easiest way would be to reach out to the attorney or law firm that filed your bankruptcy petition. Also, you can contact the clerk of courts for the bankruptcy court where you filed your case. Another way is to open a PACER account. A PACER account will give you access to electronic court records filed in your case.
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Go To Court To File Your Bankruptcy Forms
Once you enter the doors of your local courthouse, you will be greeted by security guards, who will ask you to pass through a metal detector. Once you pass security, you will go to the clerkâs office and tell the clerk that youâre there to file for bankruptcy. They will take your bankruptcy forms and your filing fee .
Do not submit your bank statements or tax returns to the court. These documents go to the trustee after the case is filed. Check out Step 7 below for more info on that.
While you wait, the clerk will process your case by scanning your forms and uploading them to the courtâs online filing system. This usually takes no more than 15 minutes.
Once done, the clerk will call you back to the front desk and give you:
Your bankruptcy case number
The name of your bankruptcy trustee
The date, time, and location of your meeting with your trustee
At this point, your case has been filed! Congrats! The automatic stay now protects you from all debt collectors. But youâre not home yet – there are other steps you need to complete to get a fresh start under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code!
What Happen If Litigation Occurs
Two kinds of litigation can delay the closing of your bankruptcy case.
- Determining the dischargeability of a debt. If you or one of your creditors files a lawsuit asking the court to determine if one of your debts is dischargeable or not, the court will keep your case open until it decides the fate of that debt. This kind of lawsuit will not usually interfere with your general discharge unless the trustee or the creditor challenges your right to discharge all your debts.
- Trustee’s litigation to gather assets. Sometimes a trustee will have to file a lawsuit against a third party to get access to your nonexempt property. For instance, if you sold a car for half its value to your cousin a month before you filed your bankruptcy case, the trustee may have a right to the full value of the car. If your cousin refuses to turn over the car or pay the full value, the trustee may have to file a lawsuit. Or, the trustee could file a lawsuit to get back an unusually large payment you made to a favorite creditor before you filed your Chapter 7 case. Your duty to cooperate also applied when the trustee files one of these lawsuits.
Find out more by reading What Is Bankruptcy Litigation?
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Can You Remove Bankruptcy From Public Record
Unfortunately, there is no current way to entirely remove a bankruptcy filing from public record.
Your bankruptcy will only appear on your credit report for ten years. After that, it will generally only be available through court records. This is because your bankruptcy filing is just like any other public court proceeding.
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Get Your Bankruptcy Records Fast
We start processing your order as soon as the order form is submitted. There is no need to spend hours struggling to get a copy of your bankruptcy paperwork.
Bankruptcy Discharge Papers
Includes: Discharge Papers + Schedules D, E, & F. All Creditors included in case
Bankruptcy documents are also available for a fee at . In order to use the pacer.gov service, you will need to be a registered user and have you billing information stored. We DO NOT store any billing information for this one time transaction.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What benefits does this service have?
Which option should I choose?1. Complete bankruptcy file includes all documents related to the case: voluntary petition, all schedules, orders on all motions, and discharge order. Includes all creditors in case.2. Schedules & discharge papers include schedules D, E, F, and discharge order. Includes all creditors in case.3. Bankruptcy discharge papers only include the Discharge order, not a list of creditors that were discharged in the case.
Can I order records for someone else?Yes, if we can find the file, you can request the bankruptcy records of anyone.
Before Doing Anything Else Decide If Filing Bankruptcy Is Right For You
Before jumping in, you need to determine whether filing bankruptcy will help you. Bankruptcy is a powerful debt relief tool that’s helped many people, but you’ll have to decide if it makes sense for your financial situation.
A bankruptcy discharge does not wipe out certain non-dischargeable debts like most student loans, child support obligations, alimony, and recent tax debts. If you have any cosigners, they will not be protected by your personal bankruptcy.
If you have great credit when your Chapter 7 bankruptcy is first filed, your . Most people are able to rebuild their credit and have a better score within a year of getting their bankruptcy discharge.
Anyone can file Chapter 7 bankruptcy without a lawyer. Here is an overview of the steps you’ll need to take to obtain your fresh start.
Are All Of The Debtor’s Debts Discharged Or Only Some
Not all debts are discharged. The debts discharged vary under each chapter of the Bankruptcy Code. Section 523 of the Code specifically excepts various categories of debts from the discharge granted to individual debtors. Therefore, the debtor must still repay those debts after bankruptcy. Congress has determined that these types of debts are not dischargeable for public policy reasons .
There are 19 categories of debt excepted from discharge under chapters 7, 11, and 12. A more limited list of exceptions applies to cases under chapter 13.
Generally speaking, the exceptions to discharge apply automatically if the language prescribed by section 523 applies. The most common types of nondischargeable debts are certain types of tax claims, debts not set forth by the debtor on the lists and schedules the debtor must file with the court, debts for spousal or child support or alimony, debts for willful and malicious injuries to person or property, debts to governmental units for fines and penalties, debts for most government funded or guaranteed educational loans or benefit overpayments, debts for personal injury caused by the debtor’s operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated, debts owed to certain tax-advantaged retirement plans, and debts for certain condominium or cooperative housing fees.
Obtain Copies From The Federal Records Center
This court began electronic case filing on April 1, 2004. Cases filed prior to that date might be available from the National Archives Federal Records Center located in Kansas City. Please note that the National Archives retains a representative sample of bankruptcy cases, but does not retain all cases. When you make a request for documents from the FRC, you will be informed of whether the case is still available.
Form NATF 90 is used to request bankruptcy case documents from the FRC. The form asks for a series of numbers to identify the location of a case. The FRC cannot locate files without this information. This information must be obtained from the Bankruptcy Clerk’s Office where the case was filed. for phone numbers and email addresses for each office.
To obtain the location numbers needed to complete Form NATF 90, your request to the court must include:
- Debtor’s complete name at time of filing,
- Last four digits of debtor’s Social Security number ,
- Debtor’s case number ,
- Approximate year case was filed.
The court will provide the following FRC information to complete Form NATF 90:
- Court Location,
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How Do I Get A Copy Of My Discharge Papers
You have several options:
- You can request a copy at .
- If discharge is not available at the Court, speak with staff for additional options.
- You can sign up for electronic access to case information. You can subscribe to PACER Service which will allow you access to all Bankruptcy case records and you will be able to print case documents yourself. To receive more information about PACER Service you can visit the website: or telephone the PACER Service Center at 676-6856 between the hours of 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday – Friday CST.
Talk To A Bankruptcy Lawyer
Need professional help? Start here.
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Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
Once you have prepared your bankruptcy forms, you will need to print them out for the court. You must print them single-sided. The court wonât accept double-sided pages. You will also need to sign the forms once they are printed.
You will need:
Your paycheck stubs
If needed, your application for a fee waiver or installment plan
Most bankruptcy courts require just one signed original of the petition, but some courts require additional copies. So, before you head out to submit your forms, to find out how many copies you will need to bring and confirm you have all the required local forms.
Your House And Other Real Property After Bankruptcy
Here are answers to some common questions about homes and mortgage loans after bankruptcy:
What should I do if I want to keep my home after bankruptcy? Make timely payments if keeping your house. If you did not reaffirm your home mortgage loans in Chapter 7 but are current and plan to keep your property, just continue to make your house payments on time. The bank still has a lien on your home and can foreclose if you fall behind on the payments. Note, as mentioned above, if you did not reaffirm the debt, your payments will not be reported to the credit bureau.
Can I walk away from my home after my Chapter 7 bankruptcy? If you did not reaffirm your mortgage loan in Chapter 7, you have more options than if you reaffirmed the loan. If you do not reaffirm your mortgage loan and decide later that you no longer wish to keep your home, you can simply stop making the payments. Eventually, the property will go into foreclosure, but the bank will not be able to obtain a deficiency judgment against you.
Can I walk away from my home after my Chapter 13 bankruptcy? It depends. Chapter 13 does not discharge your secured loans in most cases unless you surrender the property in your Chapter 13 plan. If you surrendered the property in your Chapter 13 plan, then you can treat it the same as if you had discharged the debt in Chapter 7.
Quick Note: In most instances, modifying a loan that was not reaffirmed will not cause the payments to show on your credit report.
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