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How discharged debts are treated after bankruptcy

Virginia residents who file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 may have some of their debts discharged as a result. When a debt is discharged, the creditor can no longer legally enforce repayment of that obligation. Although a person is under no legal obligation to repay a discharged debt, there are some situations where a debtor might decide to voluntarily repay such an amount.

Some people choose to repay their discharged debts if the amounts are owed to people or companies that they regularly do business with or if nonpayment will have a direct affect on their reputation. As an example, a person might agree to repay a discharged debt to their family doctor. Any repayment of discharged debts is voluntary, and it is unlawful for a creditor to make any attempts to collect a discharged debt.

A person may report collection efforts that were made on a discharged debt by filing a motion with the bankruptcy court. The creditor may then be found guilty of civil contempt and issued a fine. In addition to protection from collection efforts, a person who has gone through the bankruptcy process is also protected from employment discrimination that is based on past debts. Employers are not allowed to terminate someone's employment or discriminate during the hiring process based solely upon a bankruptcy filing.

People who are facing collection efforts on debts that they cannot afford to repay might think about filing for personal bankruptcy. While considering this debt relief option, they may want to speak with a lawyer so that they can gain a better understanding of which debts will be eligible to be discharged as well as the eligibility and other requirements.

Source: U.S. Courts, "Discharge in Bankruptcy", accessed on Jan. 23, 2015

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