Skip to main content

Exit WCAG Theme

Switch to Non-ADA Website

Accessibility Options

Select Text Sizes

Select Text Color

Website Accessibility Information Close Options
Close Menu
Noyes Law Office, P.C. Get back on the road to freedom!
  • Get Back On The Road To Freedom!
  • ~
  • Free No Obligation Consultation

Can Bankruptcy Wipe Out All of My Debts?


If you are having trouble paying your bills, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be wondering if bankruptcy can help. Most individuals file for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In a Chapter 7 case, known as a liquidation, a judge will “discharge” your obligation to repay certain debts altogether. A Chapter 13 case, in contrast, involves submitting a repayment plan to the judge, which can let you spread out existing debts over a longer period of time.

Chapter 13 may be the better option if you still have a regular income and you have one or more significant debts that are deemed “non-dischargeable” in a Chapter 7 case. This is an important concept. Contrary to what you might think, not all debts can be discharged in bankruptcy. And other debts may be discharged in Chapter 13 but not Chapter 7.

What Debts Are Never Discharged in Bankruptcy?

Federal law declares certain types of debt as non-dischargeable, meaning you are still liable for them even after successfully completing bankruptcy. The most common types of non-dischargeable debts are child support and alimony payments ordered by a state court, as well as any criminal fines or penalties you may owe. Many tax-related debts are also non-dischargeable. And while many civil court judgments against you can be discharged, there are exceptions for debts arising from “willful and malicious” injuries, in addition to debts resulting from death or injury caused by drunk driving.

What Debts Can Be Discharged in Chapter 13 But Not Chapter 7?

There is another group of debts that you may be able to obtain a discharge for if you file for Chapter 13, but not Chapter 7. This includes marital debts other than support obligations, such as a property settlement arising from a divorce. A Chapter 13 case can also help you get rid of non-criminal government fines, any condominium or homeowners’ association fees incurred after you filed for Chapter 13, and certain debts you were unable to discharge in a prior bankruptcy case.

What Debts Are Difficult–But Not Impossible–to Discharge in Bankruptcy?

There is a third group of debts that present something of a gray area. These are debts that can technically be discharged in bankruptcy–but it won’t be easy. Student loans are perhaps the most prominent type of debt under this heading. Unlike most loans, federal law strongly favors protecting lenders, so you need to demonstrate that repaying your student loans would impose an “undue hardship” to obtain bankruptcy relief.

Get Help from a Southeast Iowa Bankruptcy Lawyer

You should never think of bankruptcy as a “get out of jail free” card. Nor should you be ashamed to consider bankruptcy as an option if you are simply unable to keep current with your creditors. An experienced Southeast Iowa bankruptcy attorney can assist you in reviewing your options and helping you to decide your best option moving forward. Contact the Noyes Law Office today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

  • $1 Million
    Truck vs. auto case. Policy limits a 35 year old married mother of two killed.
  • $812 Thousand
    Rear-End Motor Vehicle Accident
  • $650 Thousand
    Settlement for spouse of deceased worker.
  • $575 Thousand
    Premises Liability Settlement
  • $500 Thousand
    Auto accident settlement with resulting post-concussive head complications (no wage loss).
  • $350 Thousand
    Injury from work with complications after surgery.
  • $300 Thousand
    Policy limits for 88 year old man rear ended.
  • $190 Thousand
    Read-End Accident with Tinitus Diagnosis.
  • $180 Thousand
    Slip and fall with a broken arm and torn rotator cuff.
  • $190 Thousand
    Bilateral carpal tunnel injury- $135,000 against the employer and $55,000 against the Second Injury Fund.
  • $185 Thousand
    Injured back.
  • $175 Thousand
    Broken leg of a 67 year old.
  • $160 Thousand
    Broken hip of 83 year old woman.
  • $155 Thousand
    Non-displaced fractured hip.
  • $100 Thousand
    Aggravation of degeneration disk disease.
  • Previous
  • Next

Get Back On The Road To Freedom!

Free No Obligation Consultation

Our Southeast Iowa personal injury, workers compensation and bankruptcy attorneys serve clients in Fairfield, Ottumwa, Mt. Pleasant, Iowa City, Knoxville, Oskaloosa, Fort Madison, Muscatine, Keosauqua, Birmingham, Centerville, Bloomfield, Keokuk, Sigourney, Richland, Burlington, Washington & Columbus Junction.

Skip footer and go back to main navigation