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What is considered a luxury expense that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy?

El Segundo, CA |

I am thinking about filing Chapter 7 but I have some fairly large purchases on my credit cards in the past 90 days. Most are definitely for regular living expenses but some are not. Is there a general standard to determine a "luxury expense or service"? Would doing superficial body work on my car be considered "luxury"? If I go to a bankruptcy attorney and pay his/her fees from a credit card, can that amount not be discharged? What about attorney's fees, in general (I was involved in a small litigation recently)?

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Attorney answers 4


Really, it's just about pure common sense. If it doesn't have to do with the support, maintenance, health and safety of you and your family, it's likely a luxury or item. Cosmetic work done to your car would be a luxury expenses; replacing tires, batteries, headlights would not. Attorney fees are dischargable.

Advice on this forum is for informational purposes only and should never be mistaken as a substitute for legal advice. If you are in need of legal advice, you should consult local legal counsel.


Case by case basis but any charges made in the 90 days before you file are presumed to be non-dischargeable and fraudulent transfers IF the credit card companies files an adversary.

Disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted in the States of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts only and make no attempt to opine on matters of law that are not relevant to those three States. This advice is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation. Facts and laws change and these possible changes will affect the advice provided here. Consult an attorney in your locale before you act on any of this advice. You should not rely on this advice alone and nothing in these communications creates an attorney client relationship.


Agreed it is rather common sense. Superficial body work on a car would likely be considered a luxury and not a necessity. If credit cards are used within 90 days of the filing the amounts charged are "presumed" to be non dischargeable. All the creditor need do is file an adversary. Attorneys fee's are dischargeable in a bankruptcy unless they are for alimony child support or other domestic support obligations.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Illinois. Responses are answers to general legal questions and the receiver of such question should consult a local attorney for specific answers to questions.


Patience is, as they say a virtue, and in this case perhaps a necessity to avoid a presumption which may be too difficult to overcome. Timing is certainly everything and if you are concerned that judgment creditor may come after your assets and/or wages then you should consider how California's 704 exemptions can help you protect your assets until the period of time has run and you are in a better position to file a petition.

Mary Katherine Brown

Mary Katherine Brown


Again, your local attorney’s are usually the best source of advice, and their answers should be given the highest regard.

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