What is a discharge?

The discharge order is issued by the court and permanently prohibits creditors from taking action to collect dischargeable debts against the debtor personally. This does not prevent secured creditors from seizing collateral if payments are not kept up or other creditors from pursuing property of the estate. The following information is intended as a summary only. You are strongly encouraged to consult with an attorney in order to determine the rights and obligations that apply to your individual situation.

Some debts are not dischargeable, and others may be found to be non-dischargeable depending on particular circumstances.

In a chapter 7 case, the bankruptcy court will order that the debtor be discharged of all dischargeable debts once the time for filing complaints objecting to discharge has expired except in certain situations. For example, a discharge will not be granted if the debtor is not an individual, a complaint objecting to the debtor's discharge has been filed, a motion to dismiss the case for abuse is pending, the debtor has not paid the filing fee in full, or the debtor has not filed a Debtor's Certification of Completion of Instructional Course Concerning Financial Management (Official Form B23 - 10/06) and a Certificate of Completion of Instructional Course Concerning Personal Financial Management.

In chapter 12 and chapter 13 cases, the court will order that the debtor is discharged of dischargeable debts after the debtor has completed all payments under the plan, or prior to plan completion, after notice and hearing, if the requirements of 11 United States Code §§ 1228(b) or 1328(b) have been met.

A chapter 13 debtor seeking entry of a discharge in a case filed on or after April 20, 2005, shall file the local form "Debtor's Certified Motion for Discharge and Notice of Deadline to Object" (IANB1328) upon completion of all payment under the plan. A chapter 13 debtor must also file a Debtor's Certification Re: 11 U.S.C. Section 522 (Form IANB-522), not earlier than the date of the last plan payment.

The granting of a discharge does not automatically result in the closing of a case. Pending motions must be resolved and the trustee must file a final report and account and request entry of a final decree before the Clerk's Office will close the case.