When is my bankruptcy case closed by the court? Is it possible to reopen the case?

In most bankruptcy cases, shortly after the final discharge order is entered by the court, the case is closed. However, this is not always the case. In some Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, the case may remain open for months, or even years, after the discharge has been granted. This can be true when the Trustee is still trying to sell property or recover funds that are property of the bankruptcy estate and can be used to pay creditors, or when the court is still considering disputes over whether a particular debt is eligible for discharge.

Occasionally, there is a need to petition the court to reopen a bankruptcy case. This can be true when there is a dispute over whether a debt was discharged. Another example is when a creditor is trying to collect a discharged debt, and the debtor needs the court to take steps to enforce the discharge order. It is also sometimes necessary to reopen in order to file an amendment, or file a reaffirmation agreement.

Reopening the case for these purposes does not change the discharge date, and does not normally give creditors a new chance to file objections.
When it is necessary to reopen a case, the debtor’s attorney will file a motion with the court. It is within the court’s discretion to reopen the case, or refuse to do so. If you feel your case should be reopened, be sure to fully discuss the matter with your attorney. He/she should fully advise you of the pros and cons, and the cost of filing the motion and taking whatever other steps are needed.

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