The goal when filing for bankruptcy is to obtain a “discharge” of your debts. The discharge order is simply the order provided by the bankruptcy court to those debtors whom the court has determined qualify for the discharge. How you get to the discharge depends on what chapter under the bankruptcy code you filed your case.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy:
If all goes well, you will typically get your discharge in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case within approximately five months from the day your case was filed. In order to qualify for the Chapter 7 discharge you must comply with the requests for documents made by your trustee and complete a financial management course. Assuming that you meet all other qualifications of a Chapter 7, your discharge will be entered at the end of your case.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy:
In a Chapter 13 case you will not receive your discharge until you successfully complete your chapter 13 repayment plan. The chapter 13 cram down tool is also available to reduce debt. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy you will propose a plan as to how you will pay your creditors and how much each creditor will receive. Your payment plan will typically be at least 36 months and may extend up to 60 months. After you have completed all the required monthly payments your discharge will be entered.
Once you have your discharge the creditors that held claims against you are generally not permitted to seek payment. Essentially you don’t owe the money any more (it has been discharged) so they cannot try to collect it. Creditors are not permitted to call you, write you letters demanding payment, sue you, etc. If they do, they are in contempt of the discharge order entered by the bankruptcy court. It is illegal for creditors to continue to collect on a discharged debt and the bankruptcy court can sanction them for doing so, including requiring the creditor to pay your attorney’s fees.
If you have been through a bankruptcy and received a discharge and continue to have collectors trying to collect on a discharged debt I would be happy to meet with you to discuss your options. Often I can take these cases with no money down and do not charge you any attorney’s fees unless we collect on your behalf. JacksonWhite offers a free consultation to dicuss your particular situation.