FAQ: Can Bankruptcy be Deleted From my Credit Report?

Can Bankruptcy Be Removed From My Credit Report?

Bankruptcy became a much less attractive option for most people with the passing of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act in October of 2005.  A “means” test determines whether or not consumers are eligible for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy where assets are liquidated and all unsecured debts are wiped out.  Those who fail the means test must file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy where they are forced to repay at least a portion of their debts on a payment schedule devised by the court.  Bankruptcy removal from credit reports can sometimes be done but it’s difficult and uncertain.

People experiencing serious bill paying trouble should not look at bankruptcy as anything but a last resort.  To begin with some debts cannot be discharged such as:

  • Student loans
  • Federal, State and local taxes
  • Child support and alimony
  • Government imposed restitution
  • Fines, penalties and court fees
  • DWI fines,  punitive damages, larceny, fraud, embezzlement or breach of fiduciary duty
  • Debts and cash advances 60 days prior to or after filing

Have you thought about letting payments wait for a while?  You can stop the calls with a letter.  You can tell the creditors that if they work with you you will attempt to pay at least part of the total.  They will have to agree that half a loaf is better than one.  If a creditor gives you an especially hard time tell them that they will be the one to push you into bankruptcy if they don’t work patiently with you.  Then silence them with a letter.  If you succeed with partial payment settlements the creditors will mark your credit reports with a notation of “settled for less than the full amount.”  This hurts your score but is preferable to bankruptcy.

 Bankruptcy is not the End of Your Credit Life

If you decide to file for bankruptcy it doesn’t mean the end of your credit life. You must learn from your past mistakes and take the right steps, even if you cannot get bankruptcy removal from credit reports. Credit score recovery will take time.  The fact of the bankruptcy itself, like all other negatives, recedes in importance as time goes by. After 3 years it has much less negative effect than you might think.  The important thing is not to get discouraged and drop out of the system.  Get secured credit cards and pay them on time.  Start a positive track record again and keep it positive.

I Have to do it.  Is Bankruptcy Removal from Credit Reports Possible?

Please bear in mind that this hardball legal tactic will not work every time. Bankruptcy removal from credit reports is not easy. Do not file for bankruptcy with the plan that bankruptcy removal from credit reports will make everything all right.

That being said I have had a surprising amount of success with bankruptcy removal from credit reports.  You have nothing to lose by trying.  There is little hope for success until the bankruptcy is at least 2 years old.  Details go off line after 2 years.  They would have to be verified through documents retrieved from a hard file in a storage warehouse.  That is not going to happen.

  • Get any references to it in your credit report deleted first. File objections to these references. Some accounts may say “deleted in bankruptcy.”  The credit bureau will look at old snapshots and we don’t want them seeing this.
  • Wait 60 days after all these have been deleted and check the reports again to make sure they haven’t been reinserted.  This creates a new “snapshot.”
  • Wait another 30 days before disputing.  Now there will be 2 clean snapshots.
  • Dispute the bankruptcy entry.  Look for a small error which is common.  Dispute under any reason such as wrong filing number, wrong social security number, wrong docket number or docket date, wrong discharge date, wrong asset liability, wrong type of bankruptcy in addition to “not mine.” Liabilities may be listed as “0”.  Why would you need bankruptcy if the liability is 0?  In this case you want to be vague in your dispute.  Don’t provide a copy of the credit report.  Just dispute “the bankruptcy entry.”

 The Waiting Game

Like anything else, the credit bureaus only have 30 days to validate a bankruptcy entry.  Service providers must provide the

validation and this is not much time for them.  Good luck!

 Didn’t Work?  Wait 6 Months, Rinse and Repeat
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After practicing law for 37 years Edward F. St. Onge, Sr. now devotes all his time to helping consumers achieve a high credit score with amazing speed. Learn the counter-intuitive secrets to credit scoring through his down to earth instructions backed by extensive knowledge of the laws and trends. All of the latest tricks and techniques that they don't want you to know now at your disposal. At last a level playing field for the consumer!

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