Chapter 13 Discharge
A chapter 13 discharge under 11 U.S.C. §1328 is available only to individual debtors. In addition, a discharge is not available in a chapter 13 if a discharge has been granted previously in a chapter 7 or 11 within the previous four years. Thus, such a case should never be filed. A discharge in chapter 13 is also not available if the debtor has obtained a discharge in a chapter 13 within less than 2 years.
Under the new law there are additional restrictions. First, you must have complete the Financial Management class. Second, under 1328(h) the court must certify that the debtor has not been convicted of (nor is there pending an action for) a securities law violation or intentional injury to an individual in the last 5 years. And third, the debtor must be current on all Domestic Support Obligations.
The chapter 13 discharge, discharges debts arising before the commencement of the case, as well as those arising under §502 which are treated as having risen before the petition was filed. It does not effect the validity of liens (other than judicial liens) on the debtors property, but only the debtors personal liability on those debts. This means that a lien can be collected post discharge upon the property of the debtor securing that lien but by no other assets of the debtor. Nor does it affect tax liabilities for returns due after filing. Further, the discharge is limited by 1322(b)(5), 507(a)(8)(C), 523(1)(B), 1(C), (2), (3), (4), (5), (8), or (9), and 1328(a)(3) or (4).
A discharge obtained by fraud may be revoked under section 11 U.S. C. § 1328(e) within one year of issuance if the fraud is not discovered until after the discharge is granted.
11 U.S.C. §523(a) operates as a permanent injunction to protect the debtor from any action to collect discharged debts as a personal liability of the debtor. It also protects the debtors post -bankruptcy property from the claim of discharged debts. A violation of this injunction is punishable by the bankruptcy court. It may be brought before the court by an order to show cause. It should be noted again, however, that a creditors lien remains on any property of the debtor unless otherwise avoided during the bankruptcy proceeding, and the creditor may enforce such lien, only to the extent of the property's value. 11U.S.C. §525 also gives other protections regarding employment and licensing.
In a Chapter 13, once you have made the final payment on your plan, the Chapter 13 Trustee’s office will do an audit of your case. Once that audit is completed, a notice will be sent to the Court and a Discharge will be issued. This notice will come in the mail and a copy will also be sent to each of your creditors. This process can take a month or more.