Can I add additional debts after I file bankruptcy?
Although it is illegal to purposely leave out a creditor on your bankruptcy petitions, it is not unusual for claimants to make filing mistakes and for some creditors to be forgotten. Again, remember, you are filling out your bankruptcy petitions under penalty of perjury, so leaving off a creditor so you can continue to use a credit card, for instance, is illegal. But assuming the debts were simply inadvertently excluded, you do have options.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy with no assets
If you have filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy with no assets, generally, if the debt is legally dischargeable, it will be discharged whether it is listed or not. Your bankruptcy lawyer will simply send the creditor a notice about the bankruptcy filing, and the debts will be discharged. In this case the trustee did not liquidate any assets and no creditors were given payments so the omission of the creditor did not harm them.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy with assets
If you have filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy with assets the non-disclosed debts will not be discharged unless they are listed. In this type of bankruptcy, the fact the creditor was not listed would hurt their chances of getting payments after the liquidation and distributions to creditors. Section 523(a)(3) of the Bankruptcy Code makes a debt like this non-dischargeable if it was not listed in the bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
If you have filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and you have created a repayment plan to repay your creditors, the creditor must be added to the bankruptcy petition and repayment plan prior to the completion of the plan.
To correct mistakes on your bankruptcy forms you will have to amend your forms. So, if you forgot to add a creditor to a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case when you initially filed your case, you will have to submit amended bankruptcy paperwork.
Common reasons bankruptcy forms are amended include getting an address wrong to calculate your income incorrectly and forgetting to include certain information (i.e. creditors or assets). Amendments should also be made if you have had a substantial change your income.
How Do You Amend a Bankruptcy Form?
Unfortunately, the process to amend a bankruptcy form can vary by district court. The procedures, however, are generally similar. The first step is to go on your local bankruptcy court’s website to find the forms and procedures. This information can also be found at your local courthouse.
Some courts will ask you to submit only the information which needs to be updated; others will have you include all the information from the original form as well as the new information and write the word "amended" on the new forms.
All completed forms must be filed with the appropriate bankruptcy court. This process can also vary by court. Talk to the court clerk if you have questions. Filing an amendment may be free, but if you add a new creditor you will have to pay a fee. You will also need to notify the bankruptcy trustee and the affected creditor if you have added a creditor to your bankruptcy forms.
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Bankruptcy is not wrong for those who have made an honest effort to pay creditors.