How to See If a Bankruptcy Has Been Discharged

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When a person applies for a new loan or refinancing after bankruptcy, it is common for some lenders to want proof of discharge. This can easily be established with bankruptcy records. You may obtain a copy of the discharge order from the bankruptcy court, the from your bankruptcy attorney or online using the PACER system.

Bankruptcy Process and Discharge

When individual debtors file for bankruptcy, most of their debts are discharged at the conclusion of their bankruptcy case. In Chapter 7 cases, a debtor's non-exempt assets are seized, and the proceeds are used to pay creditors. This is a short process lasting usually a few months, after which any remaining unpaid debts are discharged and the debtor is no longer legally responsible for them. In Chapter 13 cases, a debtor pays his debts with a repayment plan that lasts three to five years. As with Chapter 7, any unpaid debts left behind are discharged as long as the debtor completes all obligations under the plan.

At the completion of the case, the court enters an order discharging debtor, which is public record and available to you and to anyone else who wants to find it.

Read More: What Happens After Bankruptcy Discharge?

Confirming the Discharge

The most common way to show that your bankruptcy was discharged is by obtaining a copy of the discharge order. You can obtain copies at the bankruptcy court clerk's office, or you can contact your bankruptcy lawyer for a copy. If these are not possible, these records can also be obtained online through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) database for a minimal charge of 10 cents per page. You'll need to register for a PACER account and provide a credit card to pay the document fees.


About the Author

Based on the West Coast, Mary Jane Freeman has been writing professionally since 1994, specializing in the topics of business and law. Freeman's work has appeared in a variety of publications, including LegalZoom, Essence, Reuters and Chicago Sun-Times. Freeman holds a Master of Science in public policy and management and Juris Doctor. Freeman is self-employed and works as a policy analyst and legal consultant.

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