The whole point of filing for bankruptcy is to give yourself a clean slate by getting out from under your debts. Whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, many types of debt will be discharged (wiped out) at the end of your case. This isn't true of all debts, however. Some debts are not discharged in bankruptcy. If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will still owe these debts after your discharge. If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will still owe any portion of these debts you can't pay in full through your repayment plan.
These debts are discharged in bankruptcy, whether you file under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13:
These additional types of debts are discharged in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but not in Chapter 7 bankruptcy:
There are three categories of debts that won't be discharged in your bankruptcy case. Some debts are never discharged; some are not discharged unless you can successfully argue that they should be; and some are not discharged only if a creditor successfully argues that they should not be.
You will continue to owe these debts after your bankruptcy case is over:
If you file under Chapter 7, you will also continue to owe condo, coop, and HOA fees; debts for loans from a retirement plan; and debts you couldn't discharge under a previous bankruptcy.
Certain debts will be discharged only if you ask the court to rule that it should be. In other words, the default is that these debts are not discharged, unless you convince the court otherwise:
Some debts are discharged unless a creditor comes forward and convinces the court that they should not be. These debts include:
If a significant portion of your debt load consists of debts in these last two categories -- debts that won't be discharged unless you can prove they should be or debts that won't be discharged if a creditor objects -- then you may want to talk to an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. A lawyer can review your situation and let you know whether you are likely to be successful in these arguments. If the debts are substantial and you have a chance to prevail, it might make economic sense to hire an attorney to argue your side in court.