Congratulations! If you received a“discharge of debtor” notice from the bankruptcy court your bankruptcy case was a success. Your discharge document, usually consisting of just a page, is the most important document you willeverreceive from the bankruptcy court, safeguard it as you would a birth certificate, passport, or social security card! Most Chapter 7 cases will result in a discharge 3-4 months after the case was filed. Chapter 13 cases will be discharged after you complete your plan, provided you have notreceiveda prior discharge recently (depend on when the prior case was filed and chapter filed under) which would prevent you fromreceiving a new discharge.
So what happens now? First and foremost, you must make sure all your creditors receive notice of your discharge. Provided you listed all your debts with correct addresses, the bankruptcy court will automatically send the discharge notice, either electronically or by mail, to all the creditors you scheduled in your bankruptcy. If you omitted to list a creditoror a debt has changed hands, all is not lost. Provided your case was a no-asset case, which the good majority are (the trustee did not seize and sell any of your assets to pay your creditors), the debt is not a non-dischargeable type (child support, taxes, government fine, etc), and there were no grounds for non-dischargeability (such as fraud or material misrepresentation), there iscase law on point that stands for the notion that these debts are nonetheless discharged, as there was “no harm no foul.”
Next, you want to make sure you follow up with the 3majorcreditreporting agencies. Send each reporting agency your discharge document from the court along with the schedule of creditors listed in your bankruptcy (schedules D, E, and F). Clients of Doan Law Firm, LLP will automaticallyreceive a pre-populated letter to all 3 credit agencies with your discharge letter instructing them to report the debt as discharged and tofurther verify the accuracy of the reporting. This is a crucial element of post-bankruptcy credit repair, as once your discharge is entered creditorsmay no longer report the debt as owing on your credit file.
Finally, you want to monitor your credit at least 4 times a year to confirm the creditors are abiding by the discharge order and are accurately reporting the status of the discharged debt. If a creditor fails to accurately report the debt as discharged or continues to take other steps in collecting the discharged debt, you have what’s know as a discharge violation. Discharge violations occur frequently in virtually every case, it’s important you contact your attorney with all documents evidencing the offending creditor had notice of the discharge in order to receive further relief in the Bankruptcy Court. Doan Law Firm LLP has litigated hundreds if not thousands of discharge violations over the years, often time resulting in large monetary settlements to their clients and elimination of the debt completely from their credit file.
Written by Shawn Doan– Mr. Doan has successfully litigated hundreds of claims against credit card companies that willfully violate the bankruptcy code and other state and federal laws designed to protect consumers. Shawn’s present and past professional affiliations include being a member of the Consumer Attorneys of San Diego, American Bar Institute, Bar Association of North County, Association of Trial Lawyers of America, National Bankruptcy Institute, National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, American Bankruptcy Institute, North County Attorney Referral Service, and San Diego County Attorney Referral Service.
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