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Can You File Bankruptcy on Restitution?

can you file bankruptcy on restitutionFacing financial struggles can be overwhelming, especially when debts include complex legal obligations like restitution. What is restitution and how might it affect taxes?

Here’s what you need to know.

What is Restitution?

Restitution is a court-ordered financial requirement for a party to compensate a victim for losses or damages resulting from a criminal offense or wrongful act. Restitution is not punitive. It’s intended to restore the victim to the position they were in before the offense occurred. Restitution may be ordered in various criminal cases, such as theft, fraud, property damage, or personal injury.

Financial Struggles Leading to Bankruptcy

Numerous factors can contribute to financial struggles that may lead someone to consider bankruptcy:

  • Unforeseen expenses: Unexpected medical bills, home repairs, or legal fees can quickly accumulate, leaving individuals unable to keep up with financial obligations.
  • Job loss or reduction in income: Loss of employment, reduced hours, or wage cuts can significantly impact financial stability, making it difficult to cover living expenses and debt payments.
  • Overwhelming debt: Mounting credit card debt, unpaid taxes, student loans, or other financial obligations can become unmanageable, leading to financial distress and creditor harassment.
  • Legal judgments and restitution: Court judgments, including restitution orders, may impose additional financial burdens on individuals, exacerbating existing financial challenges.

Can You Include Restitution in Bankruptcy?

Whether you can discharge restitution in bankruptcy depends on the nature of the debt and the type of bankruptcy filed:

  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can discharge certain types of debts which provides relief from repayment obligations. However, restitution debts resulting from criminal acts or intentional wrongdoing are generally non-dischargeable and cannot be eliminated through Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows individuals to create a repayment plan to address outstanding debts, including restitution orders. While restitution debts must be repaid in full through the Chapter 13 plan, the structured repayment process may provide relief from creditor collection actions and help individuals manage their financial obligations over time.

Seeking Legal Guidance

Do you have restitution obligations? Are you considering bankruptcy? It’s essential to consult with a qualified bankruptcy attorney to explore your options and understand the implications of bankruptcy on restitution debts. An experienced attorney can assess your financial situation, explain the legal ramifications, and guide you through the bankruptcy process.

Finding Relief and Moving Forward

While restitution obligations may present unique challenges, bankruptcy can offer a pathway to financial relief and a fresh start. This is true for most people experiencing financial difficulties.

Remember, financial struggles are common. Seeking help is a proactive step toward regaining control of your finances. Whether through bankruptcy or other debt-relief options, you have options. There are resources available to support you in overcoming financial challenges and moving towards a brighter financial future.

If you’d like to learn more or you’re ready to get started with filing, contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at (813) 254-5696 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced attorney.

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