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When a debtor files for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, the primary objective is typically the discharge of some or all of his or her outstanding debt. When such debt is discharged, creditors are no longer permitted to seek collection of the discharged debt. However, filing for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy does not guarantee that all outstanding debts will be discharged. Bankruptcy cases are often dismissed and, as discussed below, there are several possible reasons for this. Following the dismissal of a bankruptcy case, the filer remains liable for all outstanding debts. Common reasons for the dismissal of a bankruptcy case include a debtor’s failure to:

  • File all required paperwork with the bankruptcy court
  • Complete financial education classes
  • Make Chapter 13 payments in a timely manner
  • Meet all mandated deadlines
  • Attend mandated creditor meetings
  • Submit mandated paperwork to the bankruptcy trustee

Bankruptcy cases may be dismissed either with or without prejudice. The differences are discussed below.

Bankruptcy Dismissal with Prejudice in Florida

Dismissals with prejudice are usually due to the wrongdoing of the debtor. When a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy case is dismissed with prejudice, the debtor is prohibited from filing another bankruptcy case for a certain period of time and may be barred from discharging the debts connected to the initial filing. Typical reasons that bankruptcy cases are dismissed with prejudice include:

  • A debtor’s refusal to follow the orders of the bankruptcy court
  • Abuse of the bankruptcy process by the debtor
  • The filing of fraudulent bankruptcy paperwork or the hiding of assets by the debtor
  • The filing of several bankruptcy cases by the debtor for the primary purpose of impeding debt collection by creditors

Bankruptcy Dismissal without Prejudice in Florida

In contrast to the procedural issues discussed above, when a bankruptcy case is dismissed without prejudice, the debtor is free to file a new bankruptcy case immediately. Dismissals with prejudice are usually due to procedural errors. Some common reasons that bankruptcy cases are dismissed without prejudice include:

  • Failure to appear at the meeting of the creditors or bankruptcy confirmation hearing in Chapter 13 cases
  • Failure to pay mandatory court fees
  • Failure to meet the eligibility requirements for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy
  • Failure to file all required paperwork
  • Failure to provide all required documentation to the bankruptcy trustee
  • Failure to complete all mandatory credit counseling and financial responsibility courses prior to filing for bankruptcy
  • Failure to make payments under a mandatory payment plan in Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy in Florida, please contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey A. Herzog, P.A., to discuss your situation. Our experienced Florida Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys will walk you through the bankruptcy process while ensuring that you understand all of your legal options. Please contact us for a free consultation.