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What debts cannot be discharged in a personal bankruptcy?

As most residents of Eastern Tennessee realize, the bankruptcy code is intended to give people a fresh financial start by providing a remedy that relieves them of the burden to pay debts that they can no long afford. While both a Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding may provide this remedy, a prospective bankruptcy filer should be aware that some debts cannot be discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding.

Repayment of certain debts has been deemed too important to the general public welfare to be discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding. Perhaps the most important of such exemptions is bank child support, alimony payments and other debts related to family obligations. For this reason, none of these debts can be discharged in either a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 proceeding. A second category of debt that cannot be discharged is damages arising from either a personal injury or a death caused by the debtor while driving under the influence of alcohol. Student loans cannot be discharged unless the debtor can show that denial of discharge would cause an undue hardship. Generally speaking, income taxes for the last three years and all other tax debts cannot be discharge.

A creditor can prevent discharge of any debt that was incurred due to fraud by the debtor. In the same category are debts from embezzlement, larceny or breach of a trust. Credit purchases made within 60 days of the filing of the bankruptcy petition likewise cannot be discharged if the creditor objects. Non-dischargeable debts that were not included on the original bankruptcy petition are immune from discharge.

Whether a specific debt is non-dischargeable can raise a number of legal issues. Anyone who has questions about the dischargeability of a specific obligation may wish to consult an experienced bankruptcy attorney for more advice.

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