Inadvertent Asset Omissions: You Are Permitted to Amend Your Bankruptcy Filing

Interviewer: What if you inadvertently left something out of your bankruptcy petition but it's not as if you were trying to hide it. Are you able to go back and add it at any point?

In a Non-Asset Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Ohio Courts Have Ruled that Omitted Creditors' Debts Are Still Discharged

Vance: Yes, your bankruptcy petition can be amended at any time. In the state of Ohio, the sixth circuit court has determined that: if you filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and your bankruptcy is determined to be a non-asset case, meaning that there's nothing that the trustee recover from you in order to pay to your creditors; so if you inadvertently leave someone out and you get your bankruptcy discharge; after the bankruptcy over this creditor comes back to you and says, "You owe me this money," the court has determined that if a creditor was inadvertently left out of a no asset Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the debt still discharged.

And this is because the creditors that were listed got nothing; it was a non-asset bankruptcy. The one that was left out was not damaged in any way.

Now, if you leave somebody out intentionally, then that's a problem.

Intentional Omissions are Subject to Legal Action and Are a Criminal Offense

Interviewer: That's when you started having to worry about the Department of Justice coming for you?

Vance: I don't know about the Department of Justice but the creditor could come back after you. Especially if you leave them out intentionally, then the debt is not discharged. The creditor could sue you on the debt.

The Department of Justice may get involved. It just depends on how much the debt was and who was owed. But generally, they would not get involved with something like that.

It's just still between you and the creditor and because you did leave them out intentionally, you can't file another bankruptcy to discharge the debt. If you filed another bankruptcy, it probably would not take care of that debt because you probably could never discharge that debt in a bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy and Foreign Nationals

Interviewer: Let's discuss bankruptcy and immigration status. Is there any effect for foreign nationals? Do they still have the ability to file bankruptcy if they've been living here?

Can Immigrants File for Bankruptcy? If You Have a Social Security Number, You Can File for Bankruptcy

Vance: If you have a Social Security number, you could file bankruptcy. You have to have a Social Security number. You don't have to be a U.S. citizen. I don't know that much about immigration law but I know as long as you have a Social Security number, you could file bankruptcy here in the United States.