By: Julie Koenig
Once the mandatory waiting periods have passed without any lawsuits being filed against you, you will receive your discharge. This means that with the exception of any debts that were reaffirmed during the bankruptcy and you home if you decide to keep it, all other debts are discharged and no creditor can collect them from you.
You are encouraged to keep a full set of your bankruptcy paperwork - the Voluntary Petition, the Schedules, Statement of Financial Affairs and your Discharge for at least 5 years. Although for example a Chase Mastercard debt has been discharged, Chase may sell off that "debt" to a third party debt collector, even though it has been discharged. Years after you have received a discharge you might get a letter from that third party debt collector demanding that you pay them the debt originally owed to Chase and discharged in bankruptcy. Don't panic - Chase did not inform the third party debt collector that the debt had been discharged or they thought you might pay it anyway. Simply make a copy of the Voluntary Petition, the Schedule F where Chase was listed, and your discharge and mail it back to them. They will likely leave you alone after that - they were just trying to make money off of you.
If you file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, you will not be allowed to obtain another discharge in bankruptcy for 8 years from the date of the first filing.
If you file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, you will not be allowed to obtain another discharge in bankruptcy for 6 years from the date of the first filing, with certain limited exceptions.