Can I add new debts to my bankruptcy case?

Yes, but only if the obligation occurred prior to filing.

For instance, if you have a medical bill from a year ago, file bankruptcy, and then a new collector contacts you about that medical bill, you can add the new collector because the debt arose from before your bk filing.  On the other hand,  if you file bankruptcy, then have a $5,000 emergency room visit after your son breaks his arm at school (very expensive arm), you cannot add this debt.  The er visit occurred after you filed bk, and there is no way to add it to your current case.

However, there are ways around this.  I have had clients who incurred substantial medical debt after filing bankruptcy but before meeting with their bankruptcy trustee.  In these situations, you can add the new medical debt, but only with a new case:

In a chapter 13, we simply tell the court that you cannot go forward, and the case is dismissed.  You then file a new case and add the new debt.

In a chapter 7, you have to miss the 341 Meeting of Creditors.  The trustee then files a “Recommendation for Dismissal” or a “Motion to Dismiss for Non-Appearance of Debtor,” and your case is then dismissed 30 days later.  You can file a new chapter 7 and list the new debt.

The problem is that this is messy, and the debt had better be big enough to be worth it.  If it’s a small amount, it’s not worth having two bankruptcies on your credit.  If it’s a new $40,000 bill, then yes, we need a new case.

This is not legal advice.  If you need help go to


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