Filing bankruptcy can allow you to get a clean financial slate. It can enable you to wipe out debts you cannot pay or create a repayment plan that you can afford and follow through with.
In many cases, the debts you have will qualify for discharge, which means removal or forgiveness. But there are some that will not. It is essential that you understand which are dischargeable and which are not when you make the decision to file.
Debts that have some legal obligation behind them are usually not dischargeable through bankruptcy, according to the Justice Department. These include restitution ordered by a court, court fines, child support obligations and taxes. In addition, due to the way the law is set up, you cannot discharge student loans.
You may also choose not to discharge some debts. For example, if you list a debt secured by an asset, you will lose that asset when the court finalizes your bankruptcy. However, you may have the option to reaffirm the debt, which means you agree to continue paying it according to the terms of your loan, and the court will not discharge it. You get to keep the asset, but you must continue paying the loan.
Dischargeable debts are things like credit cards, medical bills and loans. You can include these in your filings and the court may excuse them, or you would repay them in your repayment plan.
It makes the most sense to file bankruptcy when the majority of your debt is dischargeable. If not, then you may want to seek a different solution to your debt issues.