When a resident of Tennessee files a bankruptcy petition, their primary object is to obtain a judicial order stating that their financial obligations have been discharged, i.e., that the debts do not need to be repaid. In most bankruptcy proceedings, the bankruptcy court will issue an order at the end of the case identifying which debts have been discharged and which remain enforceable.
Some debts are non-dischargeable as a matter of law. These debts include a tax or customs duty, a debt for money that was obtained by fraud or false pretenses. A discharge will also be denied for purchases of luxury goods for more than $500 on or within 90 days before filing of the petition. All domestic support obligations, including child support or spousal support, cannot be discharged. Fines owed to a government entity cannot be discharged. Finally, any debt incurred by fraud cannot be discharged.
Other kinds of non-dischargeable debts fall into several categories. A discharge will not be granted if the debtor tried to delay or defraud a creditor or officer of the state by transferring, destroying or concealing property of the debtor. A discharge will also be denied if the debtor has concealed, destroyed or falsified financial records that would otherwise provide information about the debtor's financial condition.
A large class of debts that are broadly known as fraud will also be denied discharge. These debts include a false claim or a false oath or account. The debtor will also be denied discharge, if he has withheld information from an officer of the bankrupt estate any information about financial affairs. The denial of discharge usually requires the presentation of evidence in the bankruptcy court by the party seeking to deny the discharge.
Anyone considering the filing of a bankruptcy petition may wish to review the dischargeability of particular debts with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Creditors of the debtor may also want to consider opposing discharge of one of the types mentioned above.