Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and Debtor’s Credit Report

I am frequently asked by the debtors how long their bankruptcy filing will remain on their credit report and whether they would be able to obtain credit after the filing.  There is a substantial amount of confusion with respect to when a bankruptcy can no longer be reported on the debtor’s credit report and whether credit becomes available to those who file for bankruptcy relief.

The length of time a bankruptcy can be reported on the debtor’s credit report is governed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”).  The FCRA orders credit reporting agencies to remove bankruptcy case information from all consumer reports ten years after “the date of entry of the order for relief.”  It does not differentiate between Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.  The order for relief according to §301 of the Bankruptcy Code is entered on the filing date, so the ten year period is measured from the bankruptcy filing date, not the discharge date.

It is usually a good idea to order your credit report after the bankruptcy to make sure that the bankruptcy discharge also shows on the credit report so that potential new creditors understand that the creditors whose claims were discharged in bankruptcy have no remaining legal claims.

In my opinion, bankruptcy is no more harmful to the debtor’s credit score than the financial circumstances that lead to the bankruptcy filing. In today’s lending environment, credit is available to the recently bankrupt. It may be more expensive than prior to the bankruptcy filing, and available with lower limits, but it is likely to be offered. Similarly, according to the credit industry’s studies, 18-24 months after a bankruptcy discharge, bankruptcy debtors can qualify for a mortgage loan on the same terms as if they had not filed bankruptcy. The anecdotal experience of my clients has been that they were able to obtain mortgages within two years of filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.  While it takes some effort to rebuild credit after bankruptcy, it is possible to do so.

If you contemplating filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, or are dealing with debt problems in Western New York, including Rochester, Canandaigua, Brighton, Pittsford, Penfield, Perinton, Fairport, Webster, Victor, Farmington, Greece, Gates, Hilton, Parma, Brockport, Spencerport, LeRoy, Chili, Churchville, Monroe County, Ontario County, Wayne County, Orleans County, Livingston County, and being harassed by bill collectors, and would like to know more about how bankruptcy may be able to help you, contact me today by phone or email to schedule a FREE initial consultation with a Rochester, NY, bankruptcy lawyer.