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What Is Post-Petition Debt?

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In a Nutshell

Debt you acquire after you file your bankruptcy petition is called post-petition debt. Post-petition debt won't be discharged in your bankruptcy. But post-petition debt isn't the same as debt you forgot to include on your bankruptcy forms.

Written by the Upsolve Team
Updated March 29, 2022

At some point after filing bankruptcy, you'll inevitably take on new debt. Most of this new debt will be established after the court has granted your bankruptcy discharge. But you may also take on debt while you're still waiting for the bankruptcy court to grant your discharge.

Any debt you acquire after filing your bankruptcy petition is known as post-petition debt. This article will explain what post-petition debt is and how it differs from debts you simply forgot to include in your bankruptcy forms. We'll also look at the effect of your discharge on post-petition debt and whether the timing of the discharge affects the new debt.

What Does "Post-Petition" Mean?

Post-petition refers to anything that occurs after you've filed for bankruptcy. Conversely, the term “pre-petition” is used to refer to anything that happened before you filed for bankruptcy. Only “pre-petition” debts are dischargeable in bankruptcy.  

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What Is Post-Petition Debt?

Post-petition debt refers to any debt you incur or enter into after you've filed your bankruptcy petition. This debt isn't included in your bankruptcy and won't be eliminated by your bankruptcy discharge. An example of post-petition debt would be buying new furniture on credit a week after you filed for bankruptcy. Because you entered into the credit agreement after you filed for bankruptcy, the debt you owe on the furniture won't be eliminated when you receive your discharge. That means you’re still responsible for paying it back. 

What About Debts You Forgot To List on Your Forms?

Post-petition debt doesn't include:

  • Debts you had before filing bankruptcy but forgot to list in your bankruptcy forms, or

  • Debts you entered into before filing for bankruptcy that have payments coming due every month while you're in bankruptcy. Typically this type of debt includes things like apartment leases or car loans. Even though subsequent payments come due on these types of debts after you've filed for bankruptcy, the debt was incurred before your bankruptcy, so the entire debt or loan is dischargeable.

Also, in many states, if you have a “no-asset” bankruptcy, pre-petition debt will still be discharged as part of your bankruptcy as long as it was incurred before the date you filed, even if you forgot to list it. A no-asset bankruptcy refers to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy where the trustee doesn't make any payments to creditors. Most Chapter 7 bankruptcies in the United States are no-asset bankruptcies.

Still, if you discover a debt that you forgot to include in your bankruptcy before you've received your discharge, you're required to amend your bankruptcy forms and add the creditor and the debt to the appropriate forms. Typically you'll have to pay a $34 fee to file the amendment, and you must send a copy of the amendment to your court-appointed trustee and the newly added creditor. 

Let's Summarize...

Post-petition debt is new debt you take on after you've filed your bankruptcy petition. If you take on new debt after filing your bankruptcy case, this post-petition debt won't be discharged in your bankruptcy because you incurred the debt after filing your bankruptcy. If you forgot to list a debt in your bankruptcy paperwork, you can still have that debt discharged by amending your bankruptcy paperwork to include the debt.

If you have a simple Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Upsolve can help you file your case for free.


Written By:

The Upsolve Team

Upsolve is fortunate to have a remarkable team of bankruptcy attorneys, as well as finance and consumer rights professionals, as contributing writers to help us keep our content up to date, informative, and helpful to everyone.

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