Suppose I leave out a debt on my petition?

file bills consumer bankruptcy

Suppose I leave out a debt on my petition?

If you deliberately omit a creditor from your schedules, you could be denied a discharge because you made a false oath that your schedules were true and complete. You could also be charged with a bankruptcy crime.

If you inadvertently omit a creditor, the consequences are not so dire. Except in a no-asset Chapter 7 case, any debt to a creditor who didn’t get notice of your case will not be discharged-you will still owe it when your case is finished. There are some kinds of debts (debts incurred by fraud, for willful and malicious injuries, and for divorce settlements) that will be discharged unless the creditor files an adversary proceeding while your case is going on and convinces the court not to discharge the debt. But, if the creditor never gets notice of the case, it can’t file the adversary proceeding in time. Therefore, the law automatically keeps those debts alive at the end of your case. Tactically, it’s better for you not to lose the benefit of the time limit, so it’s better to list all your creditors.

(Reviewed 11.14.08)

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