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Can I exclude a specific credit card debt when I file bankruptcy?

Sacramento, CA |

Another person is on one of the cards and I don't want them affected by my needing to file.

Attorney Answers 4


No. You need to schedule all of your assets and liabilities in your bankruptcy schedules. Your schedules are signed under penalty of perjury, and the failure to accurately disclose material information may result in a denial of discharge. Bankruptcy fraud is also a federal crime. If you fail to disclose credit card debt in your schedules, and do not give the creditor notice of the bankruptcy, the creditor will generally not be bound by the discharge injunction (especially in a case in which the Trustee has assets to administer).

NOTE: This information is not intended to (and does not) create an attorney-client relationship. Such information is intended for general informational purposes only and should be used only as a starting point for addressing your legal issues. It is not a substitute for an in-person or telephone consultation with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction about your specific legal issue, and you should not rely upon such information. Such questions and answers are not confidential and are not subject to attorney-client privilege.

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You need to schedule all of your debts and assets in your petition. You can indicate that you want to reaffirm the debt. This may get you what you are looking for in this matter.

Disclaimer - This response does not constitute legal, accounting or other professional advice. Only through a personal, confidential consultation with qualified legal counsel can anyone properly evaluate their own unique legal challenges and determine what, if any, appropriate legal strategies and tactics should be implemented to meet those challenges.

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You are required to list all creditors and you will be asked under oath if you have listed all or your debts. Furter, if you do not list one credit card, the credit card company will usually get electronic notice of your bankruptcy. Your bankruptcy is a public record and the credit card companies pay for electronic data which includes all bankruptcy filings.

With that said, you can reaffirm a debt if the creditor agrees. A reaffirmation agreement, if approved by the court, makes you liable for the debt again. In other words, the bankruptcy does not effect the debt. You can also voluntarily pay a debt.

The other person may not be adversely effected by your bankruptcy if the account is paid on time. The credit card company may have a contract clause that allows them to treat your bankruptcy filing as a default, even though the account is in good standing. Whether that clause is valid is a matter of interpretation and may not have been addressed since the 2005 bankruptcy reform.

In other words, the law is not black and white and you may not be able to adversely effect the other person. However, there are many options available to avoiding such a conflict. The only sure way of avoiding a problem is to pay the credit card off before filing. That may not be a realistic option for you. Even if you pay it within 90 days of fling bankruptcy, the credit card company may have to pay the money back to the bankruptcy trustee.

I hope that answers many of your questions. Bankruptcy involves many variables and you can almost never know with certainty how all the variables will play out. A good lawyer will help you understand the risk so that you can make good decisions to manage the risk. Good luck!

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As other attorneys have noted you not only must but want to list all debts. The first question is - Is bankruptcy your only and best option. It may be that you bought a refrigerator on the card that the creditor will take if you file bankruptcy (not that they really want it) - In those situations at the meeting of creditors you can work out a deal with the creditor and pay the value of the item.

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