Can a Bankruptcy Case Be Reopened?

By Cara O'Neill, Attorney
The court will reopen a closed bankruptcy matter in particular circumstances.

Yes. It’s not unusual for the court to close your case before you receive your discharge (the order that wipes out your debt) if you fail to file required paperwork promptly. Things can happen after you receive your bankruptcy discharge, too. Here are examples of situations that might prompt the court to reopen your case:

  • You forgot to complete your debtor education course (you’ll ask the court to let you submit Form 423 Certification About a Financial Management Course so you’ll qualify for a discharge).
  • You need to file a lien avoidance motion to set aside a lien that allows a creditor to take your property if you fail to pay your debt.
  • A creditor or the bankruptcy trustee asks the U.S. Trustee to file a motion to reopen the case after discovering additional assets that the trustee should distribute to the creditors.

You can reopen for other reasons, as well. No matter who wants to revisit the case, doing so requires a court order. Therefore, the court will consider a motion and grant it only if the law supports it.

To find out more about reopening a case, including how to go about doing so, read Reopening a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case.

Go to the main bankruptcy FAQ page.

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