The Difference Between Dismissed and Discharged
It is important to understand the difference between dismissed and discharged in the context of a bankruptcy filing. They are significantly different. A discharge is a good thing and a dismissal is not always a good thing. A discharge is when debt is essentially erased. Debt is not erased from your credit record completely, but, when a debt is discharged, you are no longer responsible for paying it back. When a bankruptcy gets dismissed by the bankruptcy court, it means the bankruptcy process has been halted and the file has been dropped out of processing. It usually means there was no discharge of any debt. Most importantly, it means that you are no longer under bankruptcy protection. Payments are due and collections activities can resume after a bankruptcy dismissal.
Why Would Your Bankruptcy Get Dismissed?
There is usually a specific event that occurs that would cause a bankruptcy file to get dismissed in court. The types of events can vary.
Missing Your 341a Hearing
All Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings have a required 341a hearing, aka the Meeting of Creditors. If you miss this meeting which is normally scheduled automatically by the court, your case can be dismissed. You can try to provide a reason why you missed the meeting and ask the court to schedule another meeting, but if you miss the meeting without any communication, it is a sure way to get your file dismissed.
If your paperwork is out of sorts and missing documents or signatures and you don’t correct the mistakes within the given amount of time, your file will get dismissed. The court will identify missing documents and make sure you and your attorney turn in all necessary documents in order to complete the filing. Otherwise, dismissal is eminent.
Not Completing Credit Counseling
If you don’t complete the required credit counseling sessions your bankruptcy file may be dismissed. There are two required certificates of completion to submit. One is submitted with the filing and the other is done after the bankruptcy is filed. Make sure to get them in or you will face dismissal.
One general way to get dismissed is if you do nothing. Bankruptcy is a process that needs to be managed. The court or bankruptcy trustee may need to communicate with you for many different reasons. If they don’t get the answers or documents they need, dismissal happens.
What To Do Next
What can you do when your case does get dismissed? You can re-open the file. You will very likely have to pay the filing fee again. You should be able to open it unless you were dismissed with a bar. Sometimes if you get dismissed too many times within a short period of time, your dismissal can come with a bar from filing. This means that not only was your case dismissed, but you have been barred from filing another bankruptcy for a period of time. If you are allowed to re-file, you can get it going again, hopefully to get yourself a discharge of debt.
If you need a law firm in Orange County or Inland Empire areas to guide you through the bankruptcy process, contact Bankruptcy Law Professionals at 855 257-7671 for a free consultation.