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Some debts are not dischargeable in a personal bankruptcy

Massachusetts residents who meet with a bankruptcy lawyer for the first time generally have a lot of questions. The question of what debts can be discharged in bankruptcy is one that comes up a lot.

There are several categories of debt that generally cannot be discharged in personal bankruptcy. These include student loans, federal, state and local taxes, alimony and child support obligations, debts incurred as a result of fraud or misconduct by the debtor and fines imposed for criminal violations. There are exceptions to the general rule of nondischargeability, but in the majority of cases these debts will remain in place after a bankruptcy is completed.

On the other hand, the list of debts that can be discharged in bankruptcy is long. Other than debts like those above that have been specifically made nondischargeable by law, almost any other debt can be discharged in bankruptcy. Debts that can be discharged include hospital bills and other medical expenses, non-student loans from a bank or credit union, personal loans, credit card debt, debts owed to stores and other sellers of products and services, utility bills and many others.

When a person is overwhelmed by a combination of dischargeable and nondischargeable debt, filing for bankruptcy can provide much-needed relief. The nondischargeable debt may remain after the bankruptcy, but the discharge of other debt can free up income to begin paying down the debts that were not discharged. An experienced personal bankruptcy attorney, like those at our law firm, can counsel a debtor on how best to use the bankruptcy laws to obtain debt relief and a fresh financial start.

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