The bankruptcy discharge is typically one of the most helpful aspects of a bankruptcy case, since it legally erases the debtor's liability to pay certain debts. Debtors may need copies of the court-issued discharge to prove lack of liability to creditors even long after the bankruptcy case is closed, so copies are available from the bankruptcy court where the discharge was issued.
Copies Available in Court Papers
The bankruptcy court clerk is required to send each debtor a copy of the court's discharge order, along with copies sent to the creditors, trustee and attorneys involved. If the debtor loses this copy, he can request another copy from the court clerk, but the clerk may charge the debtor fees for searching in the court's records, making certified copies and retrieving the case file if it has been archived elsewhere. If it has been archived, it may take longer for the clerk to provide the copies.
Federal courts, including bankruptcy courts, offer electronic filing for many current cases, so the court's discharge order may be available electronically. The electronic filing system, called PACER, is available to the public in court clerks' offices and online. The debtor must set up an account for access and must pay a fee for each page downloaded from the system.
Heather Frances has been writing professionally since 2005. Her work has been published in law reviews, local newspapers and online. Frances holds a Bachelor of Arts in social studies education from the University of Wyoming and a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School.