Written by attorney Scott M. Hutchinson

Debts that are generally not dischargeable in Bankruptcy

Most debts are able to be eliminated (or what is termed "discharged") in consumer bankruptcy (Chapter 7 or Chapter 13). However, there is a short list of debts that are considered non-dischargeable, meaning those debts can not be eliminated through bankruptcy.

A comprehensive list of the types of debt that cannot be eliminated in bankruptcy are listed in the Bankruptcy Code under Title 11 U.S.C. Section 523 called Exceptions to Discharge. What follows are common types of debts that can not be eliminated in bankruptcy:

  1. Most taxes (there are complicated exceptions to this rule)

  2. Debts incurred through fraud, false representation, or false pretenses

  3. Debts not listed or scheduled on the bankruptcy

  4. Debts incurred through fraud, defalcation, embezzlement, or larceny

  5. Domestic support obligations, for example, child or spousal support

  6. Debts related to willful or malicious injury by the debtor against another or the property of another

  7. Fines, penalties, or forfeiture payable to or for the benefit of a governmental unit, for example, a traffic ticket, parking ticket, or library fine.

  8. Student loans

  9. Criminal restitution

  10. Debt related to a death or personal injury caused by driving while intoxicated


There are a few other types of debts that cannot be eliminated in bankruptcy but they applied to a very limited segment of all bankruptcy filers, and those types of debt can be found in Section 523 of the bankruptcy code mentioned above.

All other types of debts can be eliminated in bankruptcy such as credit card debt, medical dad, utility debt, loan debt, payday loans, title loans, old landlord debt, and deficiency balances on repossessions and foreclosures, judgments, lawsuits, vehicle debt, house debt, collections, etc.

Bankruptcy is a complicated process and figuring out what can and cannot be dischargedin bankruptcy requires a thorough understanding of the bankruptcy laws. Always seek out competence legal advice from an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to find out what debts you may and may not be able to eliminate in bankruptcy.

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