Although the bankruptcy discharge papers may not look like much (see the bottom of this page for an example), just about anyone who files a petition can attest to the relief that they feel when the open their mailbox to find it inside.
So, exactly why is this piece of paper so important?
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge legally releases the person who files bankruptcy from paying certain debts. However, it is important to note that all debts are NOT discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding.
It also prohibits creditors from trying to collect discharged debts. That's right - no telephone calls, no collection letters, no garnishments. When a debt is discharged in bankruptcy, it's history! Well, almost history - the fact that a petition was filed will hang around on a person's credit report for several years.
How long does it take after a person files Chapter 7 before the much-anticipated discharge is received? Generally speaking, it's about four months. However, there are circumstances that may delay receipt.
After receiving the bankruptcy discharge papers, it's important to put them in a safe place. It's also a good idea to make a few copies. Copies may be needed when trying to fix any errors or omissions on a credit report, as well as proof for any creditors that try to pursue a discharged debt.
If you do happen to misplace it, don't sweat it! It is possible to get another copy from the Court if the original is lost. If you find yourself in this boat, please be sure to read the related page regarding how to get a replacement bankruptcy discharge copy.
Finally, as promised, here's what you can expect your official Bankruptcy Discharge Form to look like: