Bankruptcy is a powerful legal tool to erase debts, but you must list all of your debts in your bankruptcy. To get the benefits of bankruptcy, the tradeoff is that you must give full financial disclosure in your bankruptcy petition.
Why would someone not want to list a debt in their bankruptcy?
People have various reasons for not wanting to include certain debts in their bankruptcy. A few of the common reasons are:
- They owe a joint debt with a friend or family member.
- They owe a debt that they want to or plan to pay back.
- They do not want the person or entity to whom they owe the debt to be notified of their bankruptcy filing.
While these reasons may feel compelling, the fact remains that you must list every debt you owe in your bankruptcy petition. The petition is filed with the Bankruptcy Court under penalty of perjury. It must be truthful and accurate to the best of your knowledge.
What if I want to pay back one of my debts?
First, it is important that you do not pay back debts right before filing for bankruptcy.
Doing so may amount to preferential treatment of one creditor over another. Preferential treatment is payment on a debt made for the benefit of one creditor over others shortly before filing for bankruptcy. It can cause serious problems in your case and can cause your bankruptcy case to be open for longer and cost significantly more in attorneys’ fees. Also, if preferential treatment is discovered the preferred creditor may have to return the money or asset.
Second, after a successful bankruptcy, you are no longer legally obligated to pay back the debts that were discharged in your bankruptcy. However, nothing in bankruptcy law precludes you from paying back a debt if that is what you want to do. For example, after bankruptcy, some people choose to pay back friends or family who loaned them money.
Can I avoid people being notified of my bankruptcy filing?
Any person or entity listed in your bankruptcy petition, including creditors (people you owe money to) and joint debtors (people who you have joint debt with, such as a joint credit card) will receive notice of your bankruptcy filing and the date for your Meeting of Creditors. Understand it is rare for creditors to attend this meeting. Read our Survival Guide to the Meeting of Creditors to learn more.
Otherwise, generally speaking, if you do not tell someone about your bankruptcy filing, they are unlikely to find out about it. Bankruptcy petitions are a matter of public record, but it is unlikely people you know will go searching through the database to find out whether or not you’ve filed for bankruptcy.
Filing for Bankruptcy Protection
Bankruptcy is a complex and nuanced area of law. Here at the Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel we will make sure you understand the protections and benefits of bankruptcy and how filing with affect you and your family. We take the time to explain the bankruptcy process to our clients. We invite you to get to know us here and read about the clients we’ve helped here.
To have your questions about bankruptcy in Georgia answered, come meet with us for a free consultation. We proudly serve the people of Savannah, Chatham County, Effingham County, Bulloch County, Bryan County, Liberty County, and Long County.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.