What is post petition debt?

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Written by the Upsolve Team.  
Updated December 17, 2019

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At some point, after you file bankruptcy you will inevitably obtain new debt. Most of this new debt will be established after you have been granted yourdischarge. But in some instances, you may also take on debt while you are 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” means, what post-petition debt is, the difference between post-petition debt and debts you simply forgot to include in your bankruptcy forms, the effect of your discharge on post-petition debt and whether the timing of the discharge affects the new debt.

What Is Meant by Post-Petition

Post-petition refers to anything that occurs “after” you have 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 have filed your bankruptcy petition. Debt entered into or incurred after you file your bankruptcy petition is not included in your bankruptcy and is not 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 owed on the furniture would not be eliminated when you receive your discharge. And you’re still be responsible for paying it back.

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What Is Not Post-Petition Debt

Post-petition debt does not include debts you had before filing bankruptcy but forgot to list in your bankruptcy forms. Nor does it include debts you entered into before filing for bankruptcy but have payments that become due every month while you are in bankruptcy. Typically this type of debt includes such things as apartment leases or car loans. Even though subsequent payments come due on these types of debts after you have filed for bankruptcy, the “debt” was incurred before your bankruptcy and as a result, the entire debt or loan is dischargeable. In addition, 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 no payments are made to creditors by the trustee. 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 have received your discharge, you are required to “amend” your bankruptcy toadd the creditor and the debt to the appropriate forms. Typically you will have to pay a $31 fee to file the amendment and you must send a copy of the amendment to your court-appointed trustee and the newly added creditor.

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Post-petition the debt will never be discharged because it was incurred after the date the bankruptcy was filed. In fact, even some debts incurred in the 90 days before you filed your bankruptcy may not be discharged if the creditor objects. The important thing to remember is that the date you “incurred” the debt is what matters not the date you included it in your bankruptcy.

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