Bankruptcy can be a beneficial debt relief option for those who can’t keep up with their current payment plans and provide for themselves. After filing bankruptcy and completing the necessary steps, a debtor will receive a bankruptcy discharge, which releases them from some of their debts. However, creditors may file an objection to the discharge order, which may make a discharged debt non-dischargeable. But how often do creditors object to discharge?
Creditors rarely object to discharge, but when they do, they can prolong the process and prevent the debtor from having certain debts discharged. If you have filed for bankruptcy and a creditor has raised an objection to your discharge order, a Louisville bankruptcy attorney at O’Bryan Law Offices is only one phone call away. We can help you file your bankruptcy petition, as well as answer any objections or motions filed against your discharge order.
Call us at (502) 339-0222 to schedule a free consultation with one of our bankruptcy professionals today.
What Is an Objection to Discharge in a Bankruptcy Filing?
A bankruptcy discharge releases a debtor from their dischargeable debts after a bankruptcy filing. Depending on which chapter of the bankruptcy code the debtor filed under, they will only be able to receive their discharge order after a certain amount of time. For example, someone who files for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy will most likely receive their discharge 4 months after filing. In contrast, someone who files for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may only be discharged 3-5 years after filing bankruptcy.
After receiving a discharge order, the bankruptcy trustee handling the case will notify all creditors, stating that they are legally required to cease collections on the debts owed to them by that debtor. While most creditors will abide by this, some may file an objection to the discharge, which can lead to additional legal action in a given bankruptcy case.
How Does a Creditor Objection Work?
If a creditor believes that the debt that they were owed should not have been discharged, they can file an objection to the discharge. If the motion is accepted, the debt is now non-dischargeable and must be paid by the debtor. This part of the bankruptcy system allows creditors the chance to point out any potential fraud or mistakes made by the debtor or bankruptcy administrator. Objections create another level of accountability in the bankruptcy process.
Why Might a Creditor File an Objection to Discharge?
A creditor may file an objection to discharge if they suspect fraud, or if they suspect that the debtor intentionally caused damage to an asset before it was liquidated. Additionally, a creditor may object to a debtor’s discharge if they believe that their discharged debt should have been non-dischargeable.
They Suspect You Committed Bankruptcy Fraud
Many creditors file an objection to discharge if they suspect that the debtor or bankruptcy trustee committed an act of fraud. This can include concealing parts of the bankruptcy estate and excluding it from the process, making false statements under oath, or falsifying bankruptcy papers.
A creditor can also object to a discharge if they discover that one of the discharged debts was from a cash advance in the weeks leading up to the bankruptcy filing, or if the debtor made any luxury purchases in that same time frame. Taking out personal loans under false pretenses or racking up credit card debt without any intention to pay it off could also be considered fraud.
Intentional Damages Done by the Debtor
Some creditor objections arise from intentional damages. For example, if a person has their home repossessed and intentionally damages the house before the bankruptcy proceeding is complete, then the creditor may file a motion to object.
Some Debts Fall Into a Gray Area
Some creditors may not file an objection to a specific debt, but there may be a need for further clarification regarding the dischargeable and non-dischargeable debts in a given case. Most priority debts, like child support, court costs, and governmental loans, cannot be discharged. However, in certain circumstances, they may be made dischargeable.
In these cases, creditors may request the court weigh in on the decision to discharge these debts. Additionally, things like tax debt can make the bankruptcy process more complicated and can lead to disputes on whether or not it should be discharged.
How Will I Know If a Creditor Objects to Discharge in My Bankruptcy Case?
If a creditor decides to file an objection to your discharge, you’ll receive notice of an “adversary proceeding” from the court that handled your bankruptcy case.
What Is an Adversary Proceeding in Bankruptcy Court?
In bankruptcy court, an adversary proceeding is like a lawsuit that the creditor files against the debtor. The creditor is disputing the debtor’s discharge, and the judge is acting as a neutral third party helping to resolve the issue. In the proceeding, the creditor must prove to the court that some form of fraud, intentional damage, or error occurred in the process, or that they should otherwise reverse their decision to discharge a certain debt.
What Can I Do If a Creditor Objects to My Bankruptcy Discharge?
If a creditor files a complaint objecting to your discharge order, and the bankruptcy court rules in favor of the creditor, you’ll have to pay the remaining balance on the debt. You may also choose to have the dispute settled outside of court by arranging an agreement with the creditor who filed the objection.
Can a Discharge Be Revoked?
Many creditors will simply object to one debt that the debtor had discharged, but in certain circumstances, creditors may object to the entire discharge. This often occurs when the debtor acquired their discharge under false pretenses or broke any Kentucky bankruptcy laws in the process. For example, if a debtor receives cash advances leading up to their bankruptcy and lied about how much cash they had, this may be considered fraud, and their discharge order may be revoked.
Contact a Kentucky Bankruptcy Lawyer at O’Bryan Law Offices Today
Filing for bankruptcy can be a complicated process, and if you have a creditor file an objection to your bankruptcy discharge, the process can become even more complicated. The bankruptcy lawyers at O’Bryan Law Offices can help you navigate the bankruptcy system and can handle your bankruptcy case from start to finish. Call us at (502) 400-4020 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced attorney on our team.