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Can the Court Deny my Bankruptcy Discharge?


Most individuals who file for bankruptcy do it with one main goal in mind, and that is to obtain a discharge of their debts. Bankruptcy is a powerful too and can be the key to a fresh financial future. Sometimes, however, a debtor is denied the discharge they so desperately seek, leaving the debtor confused and asking, “Why me?”

There are a few reasons why a judge would deny a discharge of your bankruptcy case. One such reason is that you are not actually eligible to receive a discharge in your current case. The bankruptcy laws have restrictions on how often a debtor can receive a discharge. For example, a debtor can only receive a Chapter 7 discharge every eight years. This means that if you file another Chapter 7 bankruptcy case prior to the eight year waiting period your current case will not be eligible for a discharge. The judge has absolutely no discretion in this situation and your case will be dismissed without your debts being wiped out.

Another reason the court might deny a discharge of your bankruptcy case is for abuse. The Office of the United States Trustee (UST) is appointed to review every Chapter 7 bankruptcy case to determine whether the debtor can actually afford to be in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If the UST determines that a debtor has enough disposable income to fund a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the office will file a motion under section 727 of the bankruptcy code alleging that the Chapter 7 filing is abusive. This motion will ask the court to dismiss the Chapter 7 case without discharge, or in the alternative, convert the case to one under Chapter 13. If the Court finds in the UST’s favor, there will be no Chapter 7 discharge.

Your case could also be dismissed without discharge because you failed to file the proper bankruptcy paperwork, because you failed to disclose assets to the Trustee, or because you failed to attend the Meeting of Creditors. These dismissals can come with restrictions on when you can file another bankruptcy case, and are very serious.

The thought of filing for bankruptcy and then losing your discharge is very scary, and it should be, because it is a very serious matter with devastating consequences.

The good news is that most of these situations can be avoided by hiring a St. Louis bankruptcy attorney to guide you through the process. An experienced St. Louis bankruptcy attorney will determine the Chapter of bankruptcy for which you are eligible, draft and file the appropriate paperwork, and prepare you for the Meeting of Creditors. If you couple an experienced bankruptcy attorney with a truthful debtor, the chances of your bankruptcy case being dismissed without a discharge become very slim.

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