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Determining the Date a Bankruptcy Discharge Took Effect

Determining the Date a Bankruptcy Discharge Took Effect

In the world of bankruptcy, there are many different dates to keep track of. For many debtors, one of the most important is the date the bankruptcy was actually filed. The filing date creates a number of powerful protections, including the bankruptcy stay which prevents creditors from attempting to collect on a debt they are owed.

Other dates include the 341 creditor meeting date, the date by which motions must be filed, and of course the discharge date. The bankruptcy discharge date is the date on which all of your qualifying debts are officially wiped away. After that, creditors cannot attempt to collect on those debts that were the subject of the bankruptcy discharge.

If you recently went through a bankruptcy, and you need to know the date of your bankruptcy discharge, there are a few different things you can do.

Check Your Mailbox

One of the most reliable (and simple) ways to figure out when your bankruptcy discharge took effect is to look at your mail. The bankruptcy clerk will send out a mailed notice telling you when the discharge is effective. Of course, this happens only with new notices, so if your bankruptcy was already discharged some time ago, you may not be getting any mail about it.

Call the Bankruptcy Court

The clerk of the court is very helpful, and can provide you with all kinds of information about your case. If you need to, you can call the courthouse and ask to speak with the clerk of the court. He or she will be able to tell you when your bankruptcy discharge took effect.

This may not be the fastest way to check, depending on the age of your case. If your file has already been stored in the court archives, you may have to pay a retrieval fee and wait a few days for the paperwork to be located. If you do not need a physical copy of your discharge, the clerk might be able to just tell you over the phone the date of your bankruptcy discharge. This will save you time, money, and trouble.

Using Online Resources

The bankruptcy court system uses online data storage and retrieval in the form of the Public Access to Court Electronic Records system (“PACER” for short). If you know how to log into PACER, you may be able to access all the information you need without ever leaving the comfort of your own home.
Be aware that there is a fee to use PACER. You will be charged by the page for documents that you retrieve, and you will also be charged a small fee for searches. That being said, if your expenses total less than $15 every three months, they will be waived, so PACER might be ideal for you to use.

Other Resources

If you used an attorney, he or she will likely be able to tell you when your bankruptcy discharge took effect. And, if you are in a Chapter 13 plan, be aware that the discharge will not take place until the payments are complete (usually three to five years).

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