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What Debts Are Nondischargeable?

March 21, 2022

When you file bankruptcy, the process intends to discharge as many of your debts as possible so that the impossible task of repaying them no longer burdens you. However, while bankruptcy is a great way of resolving your financial problems, you cannot get rid of certain types of debts in this manner. They are called nondischargeable debts, and both Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 place limits on the debts you may discharge.

Chapter 7 Nondischargeable Debts

Under Chapter 7, your unsecured debts, including credit card debt, medical bills, and unsecured personal loans, will be discharged. Some unsecured debt is not included in this discharge, including:

  • Child support and alimony

  • Student loans (that may be discharged if you can show undue hardship)

  • Most tax debt (particularly taxes in the past 3 years)

  • HOA fees

Chapter 7 may also discharge debit on secured loans such as your home mortgage or car. Creditors may also object to a discharge based on your use of the credit, and the court may agree to disallow that discharge. However, despite the discharge, the creditor may retain the right to foreclose or repossess.

Chapter 13 Nondischargeable Debts

All debts dischargeable in Chapter 7 are also dischargeable in Chapter 13. However, Chapter also permits discharge of debts for willful and malicious injury to property, debts incurred to pay non-dischargeable tax obligations, and debts arising from property settlements in divorce or separation proceedings.

Chapter 13 requires that a debtor establish and complete a repayment plan for the bankruptcy debts. Dischargeable debt is only discharged when the debtor completes the payment plan. Creditors can object to the plan but not to the discharge when the debtor completes the plan.

Previous Discharge

Generally, the court will deny the discharge of any discharged debt within eight years of the current Chapter 7 filing. The discharge will also be denied if the debtor received an earlier Chapter 13 discharge within six years of the filing unless the debtor had met the requirements for allowed unsecured debt claims in the prior case. If a debtor received a discharge in Chapters 7, 11, or 12 within four years or a Chapter 13 within two years, that debtor would not receive a discharge in Chapter 13.