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What to do if a creditor won't discharge a debt in Chapter 7

You have likely heard that one of the most attractive benefits of Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the ability to discharge debts that you are not in the position to pay off. By doing this, you can step out of the shadow of economic distress and into the light of a fresh financial start. But if you are considering filing for Chapter 7 for the purpose of having debts discharged, there are some things you need to understand.

First, there are certain kinds of debts that you will likely be unable to have discharged. These include debts related to alimony or child support, certain tax debts, governmental penalties and fines, and student loans. This list is far from all-inclusive, and you will need to do further research regarding your specific debts.

Also, even if your debt is eligible for discharge, a creditor can object to your request. Once a creditor receives notice that you have filed for Chapter 7 and are seeking a discharge, they have a certain amount of time in which to file an objection. Filing a challenge to the discharge triggers what is called an "adversary proceeding."

While an "adversary proceeding" may have a daunting ring, you need to remember that the creditor will not necessarily prevail and you can have the debt discharged. In fact, should the case wind up in court, it is the creditor that must produce evidence supporting the notion that the debt should not be discharged.

And this is why it is so helpful to have an experienced bankruptcy attorney on your side. Bankruptcy attorneys have the knowledge required to assess whether or not the creditor really has a legitimate reason to block the discharge. And if the case does go to trial, the attorney can act to demonstrate that the creditor's request lacks merit and that the discharge should be upheld.

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