Bankruptcy Process and Discharge
When individual debtors file for bankruptcy, their debts are discharged at the conclusion of their bankruptcy case. In Chapter 7 cases, a debtor's non-exempt assets are seized, and the proceeds are used to pay creditors. This is a short process lasting usually a few months, after which any remaining unpaid debts are discharged and the debtor is no longer legally responsible for them. In Chapter 13 cases, a debtor pays his debts with a repayment plan that lasts three to five years. As with Chapter 7, any unpaid debts left behind are discharged.
The most common way to determine if a bankruptcy has been discharged is by obtaining a copy of the bankruptcy case file. Copies of this document may be obtained by contacting the bankruptcy court that handled the case or the bankruptcy attorney involved. Payment of a small fee may be required. These records can also be ordered online through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) database for a minimal charge.