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Debtors in Florida might be interested in learning more about the rules governing discharges in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Once the repayments are completed, debtors may be able to receive a discharge as long as all obligations for domestic support have been fulfilled. In order to qualify, debtors must not have been awarded a discharge in another case within the past two years. The time restriction is extended to four years when a debtor already received a previous discharge from a Chapter 12, Chapter 11 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.

The discharge may not be approved until after the court establishes that there is no pending litigation or proceeding that could interfere with the homestead exemption granted to the debtor. Limited exceptions notwithstanding, the discharge is designed to absolve qualified debtors of their existing debts. Applicants are also required to participate in a financial management course that is approved by bankruptcy court.

Any of the creditors compensated by the Chapter 13 repayment plan are prohibited from taking legal action against the debtor in an attempt to recover additional damages. Some of the debts that are not discharged by Chapter 13 bankruptcy include outstanding balances related to child support, alimony, home mortgages and certain types of taxes. Unless creditors file a counter-action lawsuit, debts associated with fraud or restitution against the debtor may be discharged under Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Debtors who need help with a financial challenge or bankruptcy typically benefit from consulting a lawyer. Legal counsel might be prepared to review the debtor’s financials in order to identify the most advantageous course of action going forward. Lawyers might be able to help debtors safeguard specific assets by filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Debtors being targeted by wage garnishments and creditor harassment may also be helped by obtaining legal assistance.