Posted by David Falvey on Monday, February 8th, 2021 - 1,554 views
The answer to this question depends in large part on when you obtain the new debt. Generally, it is not advisable to acquire new debt after you file your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition – but before you are formally discharged. There are practical and legal reasons for this.
As a practical matter, you should take focus on discharging the debts you have in bankruptcy so you don’t get into further trouble. If you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you should avoid any credit card purchases or loans until after the debts listed on your bankruptcy petition are discharged.
If you have emergency medical needs, then you need to take care of those – but you will be responsible for any medical bills or any new bills that you acquire after the filing date.
Related article: What Is The Minimum Debt To File Bankruptcy?
The filing date is the key date. You can discharge debts you had before you filed for bankruptcy provided those debts are listed on the bankruptcy petition. You can amend your Chapter 7 to include omitted up to the time the case is closed.
But what happens if you omit a creditor? If you have filed a no-asset Chapter 7, there is good and strong case authority that the omitted creditor is still discharged because discharge that is granted is as against all your debts.
However, I prefer not to even rely on that case authority. Creditors understand a ‘slam dunk’ better than a legal argument that since the debt was omitted, it was still discharged in a no asset case. See: In re Rollinson, 273 B.R. 352 (2002) Judge Dabrowski; also, In re Boland, 275 B.R. 675 (2002) Judge Lorraine M. Weil.
Once your bankruptcy is discharged in Chapter 7 or you complete your Chapter 13 plan, there are time limits for when you can file another bankruptcy. Creditors will be able to obtain judgments and try to collect against your assets if you fail to pay any new debt obligations – until these time limits have been met.
The time limits are as follows:
Because you normally can’t add new debt to a bankruptcy petition, you should bring in all your financial records including collection letters, any claims by debtors, and any information you have about your debts to your meeting with your bankruptcy lawyer. This way the lawyer can help you list all your debts on the bankruptcy petition.
If you omit a bill for whatever reason, you can only amend your petition for approximately 90 days after you file your petition. Once your case is closed, you cannot amount your petition.
If you realize you forgot to include a debt, you can contact your lawyer. The lawyer will then ask that the petition be modified to include the debt you forgot. Provided the debt was incurred before the filing date, courts will often let you add the debt – unless there’s any fraud involved. Generally, the bankruptcy court will grant petitions to include honest mistakes.
If you need to add a debt you forgot to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition, then if the petition to add the debt is granted – you may also need to modify your Chapter 13 plan to pay the new debt.
There are some cases where a debt acquired after the bankruptcy petition is filed is allowed:
The more you have time to prepare, the more likely you’ll get the information about your debts right in the initial bankruptcy petition.
Attorney Dave Falvey is a Connecticut Consumer Bankruptcy Specialist:
• Consumer Bankruptcy Law Specialist
• Successfully Filed Over 6,500 Cases
• Board Certified Since 1996
• Super Lawyer Since 2001
• Preeminent With Martindale Hubbell
• Listed Top Attorneys In New England
• 50+ 5 Star Google Reviews