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Will a Florida bankruptcy lead to the discharge of my debts?

A person deciding whether or not to pursue bankruptcy in Florida may have many questions. One pressing question may simply be - will this bankruptcy resolve all of my debts?

In bankruptcy proceedings, the term used to refer to the resolution of a person's debts is "discharge." If a debtor is granted a discharge from his or her debts, he or she will no longer be personally liable for those debts - they are considered discharged. Discharge is clearly a desirable result for a person facing bankruptcy and, fortunately, frequently occurs. Once a debt is discharged, creditors can no longer take any action to collect the debt from the debtor.

A person who files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and lists his or her existing debts on the required schedule of debts is likely to see those debts discharged, though a bankruptcy court may discharge some debts and not others. In some cases, the court may deny a discharge of a certain debt in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. For example, if a debtor did not keep sufficiently accurate financial records or insufficiently explained a loss of assets, a debt may not be discharged. This makes it all the more important to have legal counsel to assist a debtor in a bankruptcy petition to ensure that as many debts as possible are discharged.

Not all types of debts are dischargeable, unfortunately. Some taxes and fines, as well as government guaranteed student loans, may not be discharged despite a bankruptcy proceeding. Additionally, alimony and child support or maintenance may not be discharged. Debts not listed on a debtor's bankruptcy petition may not be discharged either.

It is essential that a debtor seek skilled legal counsel to guide him or her through the process to ensure that all debts are properly identified and listed before a debtor files a bankruptcy petition. Proper guidance may increase the likelihood that a bankruptcy court discharges as many debts as possible.

Source: United States Bankruptcy Court Middle District of Florida, "Frequently Asked Questions," accessed July 17, 2015

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