As a Harvey bankruptcy attorney, there are occasions where I have to advise clients that there are some debts that will survive a Chapter 7 bankruptcy just by the nature of what the debt is. For example, student loans, recent taxes, parking tickets, child support, and alimony or maintenance payments. Those debts are going to survive a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Thus it really doesn’t matter when those debts were incurred because they are not going away. If you took out a student loan 20 years ago or 10 years ago or last week, that student loan is not going away. If you owe for child support, it doesn’t matter how old the child is now, it doesn’t matter when the child support order was entered. If you owe for child support any sort of amount, it’s going to be due and owing no matter when you file. So for some debts, it doesn’t matter when you file a bankruptcy claim, but for others, the timing is very important.
I always tell my clients we are going to file on such and such date. Anything that you incur after that date of filing is going to be due and owing. Anything you owed prior to that date of filing is going to be eliminated. I put that in my clients’ minds so that they know there’s going to be no ambiguity when we file the bankruptcy case. Anything that happens after the bankruptcy case is filed is going to be due and owing. I never want the client to come back and say to me I told you to wait, I told you I was having something done, I told you I was going to have an additional bill and you didn’t wait. We always make sure that our clients understand the bankruptcy process to the extent that whatever they incurred prior to filing should be eliminated and anything that they incur after the date of filing, known as post-petition debts, is going to be due and owing going forward.
The overwhelming majority of Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases result in a fresh start. In the rare case where someone incurs some kind of credit or debt after the case is filed, they are just going to have to work out some sort of payment plan or satisfy that creditor in some way because the bankruptcy case will not eliminate that debt. Your bankruptcy lawyer should be able to point out in advance, the debts that will not be eliminated in your case.