One of the most welcomed aspects of the bankruptcy process is the protection of the automatic stay. Prohibiting creditors from collecting and contacting you during your filing offers a chance for relief while working to resolve your debts. But what happens after your case is complete?
If your debts are discharged by the bankruptcy court, your protection from creditors becomes permanent. In other words, any debts that are resolved as part of your bankruptcy filing are no longer collectible after your case ends. Any attempt by to collect on these debts could result in consequences for the creditor. However, it is important to note that debts could still be collectible for three reasons: (1) they were not eligible for discharge to begin with, (2) the debt was reaffirmed, or (3) they are jointly held debts.
Debts that are not eligible for a bankruptcy discharge could still be collectible at the end of your case. These debts typically include items like back due domestic support payments, student loan debts, and some forms of tax debt. Some debts may be reaffirmed as part of a Chapter 7 filing, but this is generally unnecessary and should be pursued with caution. For jointly held debts, like a credit card held by you and your spouse, the creditor would still be allowed to attempt to collect from the non-filing spouse. This means that if only one spouse files and is granted a discharge in a marriage, the non-filing spouse can still be held liable.
Due to the sensitive nature of non-dischargeable, reaffirmed or jointly held debts in bankruptcy, it is important to consult a Tampa bankruptcy attorney before filing your case.