Don’t let social media ruin your bankruptcy case!

Social media mistakes can interfere with your bankruptcy case and even prevent you from discharging your debts.

Social media sites keep growing more popular in the U.S. and around the world. On July 30, 2014, Twitter reported that it had 2.71 million active users each month for the second quarter of 2014. Facebook has 1.23 billion monthly active users, according to online social media statistics database Digital Market Rambling. Social media sites have had an impact on many aspects of society, including the practice of law. While social media sites offer people a chance to connect with friends and family across distances, it also reveals a great deal of personal information when you share things online. The failure to disclose information, including what you share on social media sites could interfere with your bankruptcy debt discharge which is why disclosure is so important to the success of your bankruptcy case.

Full disclosure on bankruptcy petition

When you file for bankruptcy, you fill out a petition that requires you to supply information about your finances as well as your assets and your debts. You have an obligation to be honest and fill out the petition fully and completely. If the information in the petition is false or incomplete, there could be serious consequences including the dismissal of your petition or you could lose your chance to discharge your debts in bankruptcy. In addition, there could be even greater problems if the court determines that you lied in your petition or committed a fraud on the court by failing to fully disclose information.

Common social media errors

Bankruptcy trustees and creditors routinely investigate bankruptcy petitioners' social media accounts looking for information that indicates that there were falsehoods or omissions in the disclosure of assets or financial information on the bankruptcy petition. A trustee may be looking at your social media sites to determine if there are pictures of assets that you failed to report or of evidence of income from a second job that you did not disclose, so be sure to be very thorough when preparing for a bankruptcy filing.

For example, if you are considering personal bankruptcy, such as a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy and looking to discharge debt, you must disclose information about the purchase of high-priced items and even sums spent on vacations. In most instances, there will be a question about the dischargeability of debt if the debt was incurred for the purchase of luxury goods o was for charges or services within 90 days before filing the petition. Social media is often a place where pictures are posted which provide evidence that information has not been fully or accurately disclosed and this could result in a denial of some or all of your debt from being discharged. Please be sure to review all social media sites to insure that you have accurately disclosed the necessary information.

If you are considering the filing of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will be on a payment plan where, depending on the individual circumstances, you will repay some or all of your debts over time before you are able to obtain a discharge of the balance of what you owe. Your payments are based in part on your income, and you are supposed to report changes in your income to the bankruptcy trustee. It is important that you do so as if you share information online about a new job or a raise but do not inform the trustee, you risk the trustee or a creditor taking action to seek an order denying your debt discharge.

Talk to an attorney

When you are struggling financially, you may feel alone and out of options. However, you may want to consider bankruptcy as a way to reorganize your finances. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can discuss your situation with you and help you resolve your financial problems. If you have questions about whether bankruptcy is right for you, contact a seasoned bankruptcy attorney for guidance.

Keywords: bankruptcy; debt discharge; Chapter 7 bankruptcy; Chapter 13 bankruptcy

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