Many people turn to bankruptcy for help when they are in over their heads financially.  Bankruptcy can take care of a number of debts, including unsecured creditors.  However, there are some types of debts that are not dischargeable through either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.  The list below is intended as guidance, not as an all-inclusive list.  If you have specific questions you should contact your attorney.  Some examples of non-dischargeable debts are as follows:

1. Domestic support obligations.  These may include any child support, alimony, or any other payment ordered by the court that related for family care and support.  This can category would also include divorce and separation agreement settlements.

2. Student loans are not generally dischargeable.  However, in very extreme cases they may be dischargeable if there is an extreme hardship.  Generally this will be limited to cases where the debtor is unable to work or pay the student loans for some reason out of the debtor’s control.  This must generally be a permanent issue, not a short term issue.  For example, if the disability is short term and you will be able to return to work in a few months your loans will not be discharged.

3. Debts owed to government agencies.  This can include traffic tickets, fees associated with criminal charges, criminal restitution, and taxes.  In some circumstances, where taxes were timely filed (or filed at least two years prior to filing the bankruptcy) and they are more than three tax years old, the debt may be dischargeable. 

4. Debts related to personal injury or death caused while the debtor was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.  However, fees, fines, and settlements from car accidents not caused while driving under the influence are generally dischargeable.

5. Any debt related to fraud or misrepresentation, including embezzlement, larceny, or failure to perform certain fiduciary duties. Keep in mind that it can be considered fraud to not list a creditor on your bankruptcy petition and schedules.  If the creditor does not get notice the debt may not be discharged. 

6. Debts incurred very close to filing for bankruptcy, particularly for luxury goods or services.  When anticipating filing for bankruptcy debtors should not make extravagant purchases to avoid any potential issues. If you are unsure about this you should speak with your attorney and explain your intentions and current situation.

If you have questions, or would like to schedule a consultation, speak with a St. Louis Bankruptcy Attorney Today!