There are two ways your bankruptcy case may end. The court can either dismiss it or discharge it.
According to the United States Courts, the goal should be a discharge because this means the court accepts your bankruptcy case and forgives your debts. A dismissal occurs when something goes wrong with your case and the court is unable to finalize the bankruptcy claim.
A discharge occurs after you complete all the requirements of the court. In Chapter 7, you simply need to supply all the information the court requests and attend the creditor’s meeting. In Chapter 13, it means fulfilling the terms of your repayment plan.
It is possible to get a discharge under Chapter 13 without completing your repayment plan if you can prove hardship. Proving hardship requires showing you have paid creditors as much as they would have received if you filed Chapter 7, showing the hardship is due to something beyond your control and is not your fault and providing information that a modification to the plan will not work.
Once the court discharges your case, it excuses all debts that were part of your claim.
The most common reason for the court to dismiss a bankruptcy case is due to improper paperwork. It is essential to complete all forms properly and in full.
The court may also dismiss your case if you fail to show up at a required court hearing or do not provide the requested information or documentation. The court can also dismiss your case if you are not eligible to file the type of bankruptcy you are attempting.
In most situations, if the court dismisses your case, you cannot refile until after a waiting period, which depends on the type of bankruptcy you wish to file.
It is in your best interests to avoid a dismissal and seek a discharge in your bankruptcy case.