Why Would I Want to Reopen a Bankruptcy Case?

Man sitting with attorney to discuss bankruptcy caseAfter filing for bankruptcy and receiving a discharge, the court will close your case. Sometimes, it may even close your case without issuing a discharge. If you need to reopen your case, you may be able to, so long as you have a valid reason to do so.

Even though you may be able to later reopen a case, you should always take filling out bankruptcy forms seriously. If not, mistakes made can come back to haunt you by prohibiting you from getting your discharge or causing your case to be dismissed. That said, here are some situations where you might want to reopen a bankruptcy case.

Common Reasons to Reopen a Bankruptcy Case

  • Forgot to file a mandatory certificate – The credit counseling session is a mandatory requirement when filing for bankruptcy. The United States Trustee’s Office must approve this, and it is accompanied by a debtor education course. After finishing these courses, you must file a certificate with the bankruptcy course as proof of completing the credit counseling session.
  • Forgot to list all property – When you file for bankruptcy, you need to list everything you own. Fail to list any debts and the bankruptcy court is unlikely to be discharge them. If you forgot to list a debt in your bankruptcy disclosures and you didn’t sell any assets from your estate to creditors, the bankruptcy court is likely to allow you to reopen your case. As said before, though, don’t count on this. Approach your bankruptcy case in earnest.
  • Forgot to list a creditor – Failure to list a creditor in your paperwork can lead to that creditor attempting to collect debts after the case is both closed and discharged. Generally, if you forget to list a creditor and that creditor wouldn’t have received anything in bankruptcy anyways, then the court is likely to take a “no harm, no foul” approach. However, if the creditor takes issue and alleges fraud, you will typically have to litigate the issue in bankruptcy court.

The most common reasons to reopen a bankruptcy case are because of minor procedural mistakes. These mistakes may be mnor, but they can cause you trouble in the form of case dismissal and fraud. To avoid them, it’s best to always have an attorney by your side. If you plan on reopening a bankruptcy case, be sure to contact an experienced bankruptcy lawyer.

Washington D.C. bankruptcy attorney Kevin D. Judd represents clients in bankruptcy court throughout the District and Maryland.



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