Forgetting to Include A Debt in Your Bankruptcy

While your Bankruptcy is open you may easily add any creditor you forgot to your initial petition for relief. Once your case closes though, you may not be able to add any missing creditors. The circumstances surrounding the omission may determine if the Court will allow you to correct this error/omission.

To add a creditor post-discharge, you will first need to file a Motion to reopen your case. You must demonstrate to the Court that your omission was “for cause”. The Judge has absolute discretion to grant or deny your request to add that missing creditor. Federal statues and case law are very specific on what needs to be demonstrated to the Court in your request. Only experienced attorneys, like those at Pitts & Burns, will know what the requirements are and how to present them. Many times Court’s will deny your request just because the necessary information surrounding the omission was not proffered to the Court; sadly, even when the correct facts existed.

Some of those factors the Court will consider include how much time has elapsed since your case closed, if any creditors will be prejudiced by the reopening of your case, the extent of the benefit to the Debtor, as well as other factors. In the case of In re Johnson, the Court set forth the following four factors to determine the “cause” condition, which are: “(1) a reasonable explanation for the failure to comply with the financial course requirements; (2) a timely request for relief; (3) explanation of counsel’s failure to monitor the debtors’ compliance; and (4) no prejudice to creditors.”