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Individual Adjustment of Debt
THE CHAPTER 13 DISCHARGE
The bankruptcy law regarding the scope of the chapter 13 discharge is complex and has recently undergone major changes. Therefore, debtors should consult competent legal counsel prior to filing regarding the scope of the chapter 13 discharge.
The chapter 13 debtor is entitled to a discharge upon successful completion of all payments under the chapter 13 plan. 11 U.S.C. § 1328(a). The discharge has the effect of releasing the debtor from all debts provided for by the plan or disallowed (under section 502), with limited exceptions. Those creditors who were provided for in full or in part under the chapter 13 plan may no longer initiate or continue any legal or other action against the debtor to collect the discharged obligations. In return for the willingness of the chapter 13 debtor to undergo the discipline of a repayment plan for three to five years, a broader discharge is available under chapter 13 than in a chapter 7 case. As a general rule, the debtor is discharged from all debts provided for by the plan or disallowed, except certain long term obligations (such as a home mortgage), debts for alimony or child support, debts for most government funded or guaranteed educational loans or benefit overpayments, debts arising from death or personal injury caused by driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, and debts for restitution or a criminal fine included in a sentence on the debtor's conviction of a crime. 11 U.S.C. § 1328(a). To the extent that these types of debts are not fully paid pursuant to the chapter 13 plan, the debtor will still be responsible for these debts after the bankruptcy case has concluded.