Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Credit Card Use Before Bankruptcy

If you plan on filing for bankruptcy, it is never a good idea to accrue new debt right beforehand. While it might be tempting, using your credit cards immediately before filing for bankruptcy can lead to complications that include not being able to discharge that portion of your debt.

The majority of credit card debt is dischargeable through filing for bankruptcy, however credit card charges of $600 or more in luxury items, charged within the 90 days prior to filing bankruptcy are considered non-dischargeable. A credit card charge that transpires within the 90 days before filing may not be discharged if the creditor can prove that there was no intention of paying back the debt. This also goes for cash advances.

Additionally, some creditors will look at overall credit card usage in the 6 months prior to filing and object to a discharge if the charges are excessive and appear to be done in contemplation of bankruptcy. So the best rule of thumb is not to use any credit cards right before filing for bankruptcy once you have met with an attorney and/or know you plan to file bankruptcy.

Cash advances and certain purchases that occurred immediately before filling bankruptcy can be perceived to be fraudulent. So if you purchased a computer, a new car or an expensive designer bag and plan on filing for bankruptcy, be mindful that a lawsuit from your credit card company objecting to your discharge may follow.

Be sure to inform your bankruptcy attorney of any purchases of $600 or more that you’ve made on your credit cards because in most instances it may be in your better interest to delay filing until after the 90 day presumption period has passed.

If purchases right before filing for bankruptcy are for necessities like food and diapers, typically your credit card company will be slightly more understanding. Using a credit card to buy essentials like food can also be a good indicator of financial distress to a credit card company. However they won’t be so understanding when the purchase is a luxury item, or if the necessities are excessive and total a lot of money.

If you are unsure about any purchases you’ve made within the 90 days before you are planning on filing for bankruptcy and are wondering if your credit card debt can be discharged, consult with your bankruptcy attorney for more information.

Heartland Law LLC
700 E. 8th #700
Kansas City, MO 64106
Phone 816-842-6700
Fax 816-337-3812

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