The overarching goal of bankruptcy for many people is to discharge past debt, and never have to worry about that debt in the future.  Many bankruptcy cases are opened and closed on a regular basis, and without consequence.  However, there are situations where it may be necessary to have a previously closed bankruptcy proceeding reopened.  The idea of reopening a bankruptcy can be frightening to those who have waited so long to put their debt behind them, only to have the matter essentially come back from the dead.

When a Bankruptcy Can or Should be Reopened

There are a variety of reasons why a closed bankruptcy matter may need to be reopened.  It is first important to make clear that the reasons for reopening a bankruptcy may be different depending on whether the bankruptcy was filed under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.  Such reasons for reopening a bankruptcy matter include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:

  • Failure to list a creditor in your initial bankruptcy filing;
  • Failure to disclose certain assets (such as a car, home, or any other financial or ownership interest); and
  • Evidence of fraud either on the part of the creditor or debtor.

Both debtors and creditors have the ability to reopen a past bankruptcy proceeding upon petition to the bankruptcy court.  A bankruptcy judge will review the petition to investigate what the issue is, and whether the reason for the request to reopen the bankruptcy is based on deliberate conduct.  For example, if a bankruptcy judge believes a debtor intentionally failed to list a creditor or asset, he or she may decide to take action to resolve the matter.

Non-Disclosure of Assets Can Come Back to Haunt You

A common mistake that individual consumers make when filing for bankruptcy is that they forget about one asset that should have been listed on the initial bankruptcy paperwork.  Further, a consumer may fail to list an asset simply because he or she wasn’t aware that a particular asset was in fact an asset.  For example, if you have filed for bankruptcy, and at the time of the filing you knew you were going to pursue legal action for personal injuries you have suffered, this is information that should be included as an asset and/or interest in a potential legal claim.  It is completely understandable that many people are not aware that a potential legal claim (that has not even been filed yet) is considered an asset.

Given that there are so many rules that govern bankruptcy matters, and because those rules may apply differently depending upon the particular facts of your case, it cannot be stressed enough that you should work alongside an attorney during the entire bankruptcy process.  With the assistance of an attorney, you decrease the chance that you will forget to list a creditor, or fail to include an asset.  Further, an attorney will give you the peace of mind you need and deserve to put your debt behind you.

 Contact Kansas City Bankruptcy Attorney Douglas Breyfogle Today to Schedule a Free Consultation

Every bankruptcy case will be different depending on each person’s unique financial situation.  Many people who go through the bankruptcy process and discharge their debt will not need to have their bankruptcy matter reopened in the future.  However, there are situations where it may be necessary to have a bankruptcy proceeding reopened.  If you have a current or prior bankruptcy proceeding, or you simply have questions about the process and when a bankruptcy matter can be reopened, speaking with an attorney can help to answer your questions and address your concerns.  Kansas City Bankruptcy Attorney Douglas Breyfogle has been helping Kansas City residents with their financial matters for more than twenty years.  Mr. Breyfogle has helped his clients successfully complete the bankruptcy process and move forward with a clean slate.  If you would like to discuss your financial situation with Douglas Breyfogle, contact our office today by calling (913) 742-8700 to schedule your free consultation.