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Can my bankruptcy discharge be revoked?

Mississippians struggling with debt may be able to obtain a fresh financial start by filing for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Under Chapter 7, debtors must liquidate all non-exempt property to pay off their creditors whereas under Chapter 13, debtors may keep all their property in exchange for using their disposable income to pay off their creditors according to a long-term payment plan. Once the bankruptcy proceedings are complete, the debt is discharged and the debtor is no longer liable for those debts.

The court will typically grant an automatic discharge which prevents creditors from taking collection action against the debtor (except for certain debts such as child support, alimony and student loans). However, certain situations may warrant a revocation of the discharge in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases. An interested party, such as the trustee or a creditor, may request that the bankruptcy court revoke a discharge even after the case has been closed; these requests must generally be requested within one year of the discharge being granted.

In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a discharge may be revoked if the debtor failed to turn over information or assets as required under bankruptcy law to their trustee, if the debtor did not comply with bankruptcy court orders, or if the debtor obtained their discharge through fraud and the fraud was not discovered until after the discharge. A Chapter 13 revocation of discharge may occur when the debtor obtained the discharge through fraud which was not discovered until after the discharge was granted. Also, if there is evidence that a Chapter 13 plan was obtained by fraud, creditors may request revocation of the plan within 180 days of its confirmation.

Debtors who commit fraud may not only have their discharge revoked but may also be subject to criminal penalties such as fines and prison time. Those considering Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy should be aware of all relevant legal requirements and may wish to seek the advice of an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can help ensure their compliance.

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Christopher G. Holt Attorney at Law
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