Kevin J. Pratt Trial Lawyer

Bankruptcy doesn't discharge every debt you have

Some people think of bankruptcy as a way to quickly wipe the slate clean, eliminating all debt in one quick move so that nothing is owed. This can happen, but only if you have the right types of debt. Bankruptcy doesn't always get rid of everything.

For instance, student loans often can't be eliminated. There are cases where you can have the student loan debt declared an undo hardship, and then it can be waived, but this doesn't happen in most cases.

Back money owed on taxes, if you neglected to file returns, also won't be waived. You still need to pay the government what you owe. You certainly shouldn't assume you can just skip out on your taxes until you get audited, then declare bankruptcy to make the debt disappear.

The same goes for child support payments, spousal support payments, and other things you owe for these types of family matters. If you have a court order saying that you need to pay a certain amount of money every month, you need to pay it unless you have the order amended.

Finally, restitution for criminal actions won't be waived. You were sentenced to pay that restitution. This may have come along with fines and/or jail time. The bankruptcy court is not the place to have your sentenced reduced or eliminated. You must keep making those payments as you were ordered.

This doesn't mean bankruptcy won't work for most debt. It can be used for credit card debt, business loans, and much more. It's just important, if you're thinking of declaring bankruptcy in Georgia, to know what will and won't be impacted by that filing.

Source: U.S. News Money, "5 Bankruptcy Myths Debunked," Susan Johnston Taylor, accessed Sep. 06, 2016

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