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Can the court reverse one of my bankruptcy discharges?

Getting a debt discharged in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings is not guaranteed. Indeed, the debt -- for example if it's a student loan -- may not be dischargeable in the first place. Also, bankruptcy filers could have their discharges revoked.

A court may decide to revoke your discharge if specific circumstances are present. Here are some situations in which a discharge might subject to revocation:

-- If a creditor shows you obtained your discharge fraudulently, a discharge might be revoked. A creditor might present evidence of fraud, forged papers, fabricated financial records or undisclosed assets.

-- If a creditor fails to disclose new property. A creditor might acquire or become able to acquire new property that should be added to the bankruptcy estate. This new property must be disclosed, or else the court might agree to revoke a discharge.

-- If the debtor cannot explain his or her misstatements during an audit, or if the debtor fails to provide requested information or documents during an audit.

For a creditor's revocation of discharge request to move forward in litigation, it usually must be filed within a year of the bankruptcy discharge. In other cases, it might need to be submitted prior to the case closure date. Then, the bankruptcy court will evaluate the facts presented and decide if it should revoke the discharge.

There are a lot of things that can go wrong for a debtor during Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings. Having one's discharge revoked is just one of them. By working with a qualified bankruptcy attorney, Washington debtors can take appropriate steps to reduce the chances that they will encounter one of these setbacks.

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