A successful bankruptcy case typically ends with the entry of an order of discharge. This means that all dischargeable debts are discharged and creditors may not attempt to collect on those debts. No phone calls, no small claims suits, no threatening billing statements. Some debts are nondischargeable. If a debt was not discharged, the creditor may resume collection activities.
First, the good news. Assuming you are an honest but unfortunate debtor, most of your debts will likely be dischargeable. Credit card debt, medical bills, small claims judgments, and payday loan debts are generally dischargeable. But not all debts fit into one of those categories. So, which debts are dischargeable and which aren’t?
The first place to look is § 523 of the Bankruptcy Code. Section 523 tells us that certain debts are not subject to the discharge. In other words, these debts are nondischargeable and will survive the bankruptcy. The debtor will still be liable for them even after the bankruptcy case is closed. Note that these debts must be disclosed on your bankruptcy schedules, despite the fact that they will not be discharged.
Domestic support obligations (child support, maintenance, etc.), student loans, some taxes, and debts for money obtained by fraud are the more common nondischargeable debts. There are other less common debts that are also excepted from the bankruptcy discharge.
It’s important to know whether or not your debts are dischargeable before filing for bankruptcy. Your bankruptcy attorney can advise you as to which of your specific debts are dischargeable and which are nondischargeable.