It is not uncommon for us to be asked during our free consultation about using credit cards before filing for bankruptcy. Can I use credit cards before filing bankruptcy? Should I stop using my credit cards if I am filing for Bankruptcy? What if I just maxed out my credit card?
The federal Bankruptcy Code lays out rules regarding debts incurred before filing. These laws are designed to prevent abuse. For instance, a person cannot run up a credit card for luxury items and turn around and erase those debts in bankruptcy.
Debts incurred right before filing bankruptcy may be nondischargeable.
Using Credit Cards Before Filing Bankruptcy
First, incurring debt without the intention to pay it back can amount to bankruptcy fraud.
Second, there is a look-back period of 90 days on certain charges. There is a rebuttable presumption that “debts owed to a single creditor and aggregating more than $675 for luxury goods or services incurred by an individual debtor on or within 90 days before the order for relief under this title are presumed to be nondischargeable.” 11 U.S.C. §523(a)(2)(C)(i)(I).
Debts for more than $675 for “luxury goods or services” charged to anyone credit card in the 90 days prior to the date your bankruptcy petition is filed are presumed nondischargeable. The Bankruptcy Code does not explicitly define what constitutes “luxury goods or services,” but it states that it “does not include goods or services reasonably necessary for the support or maintenance of the debtor or a dependent of the debtor[.]”11 U.S.C. §523(a)(2)(C)(ii)(II).
For the creditor to successfully object to these debts being discharged it need only show that you charged more than $675 for “luxury goods or services” during the 90 day look-back period. Under these facts, the creditor has no duty to show that you did not intend to pay back the debts when you incurred them. However, if the creditor or the Bankruptcy Trustee assigned to your case does not timely object to discharge, then those debts will be discharged.
Choosing When to File
Every bankruptcy case is unique and fact-specific. The filing date for bankruptcy cases is critical for many reasons. For some people, it may be advisable to wait 90 days after using credit cards to file, but for others, it may be advisable to file immediately regardless of when credit cards were last used. If you’re wondering about using credit cards before filing for bankruptcy, it is time to sit down and speak with a bankruptcy attorney. We can answer all of your questions.
The Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel has over 35-years of bankruptcy experience. We are the premier bankruptcy law firm in Savannah, GA and we practice exclusively in bankruptcy law. We invite you to get to know us here and read about the clients we’ve helped here.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Find out more about Bankruptcy in our guide: All About Bankruptcy.