24 Apr Can I get bankruptcy off my credit report?
Q. I filed a bankruptcy about 6 years ago in South Florida. During the process of filing the bankruptcy, I decided to discharge the case a few months later. However, somehow, the discharged bankruptcy report was filed to my credit report. Can I get the bankruptcy off my credit file?
A. We don’t have enough about the details to give you a thorough answer here, but here are some points to set you in the right direction.
First, a bankruptcy discharge releases the debtor from the obligation to pay certain types of debt. Once the process is started, it’s difficult to “undo” it when it comes to the credit bureaus, said Beverly Harzog, a consumer credit expert and bestselling author.
“The credit bureaus still report that you filed bankruptcy at one point in your life,” Harzog said.
She said a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will fall off your report seven years from the filing date. If that’s the type of bankruptcy you filed, then you’ll be free of this in one more year.
But if it’s a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it will take 10 years before it’s removed from your credit reports, she said.
Harzog recommends you hire an experienced bankruptcy attorney to sift through the legal paper trail to see if it can be removed sooner. But, this route can get very expensive and it might not even work.
“One thing you can do at this point is to focus on paying your bills on time and keeping low balances on your credit cards,” she said. “This will help boost your score while you wait for the negative line item to fall off your credit reports.”
And the good news is that a bankruptcy has less impact on your credit score after the first two years, she said.
If you plan to apply for credit, Harzog said, you should give a heads-up to a potential lender.
“Let them know you tried to cancel the bankruptcy and your attorney filed papers on your behalf,” she said. “This could make a difference in the way they view your creditworthiness.”
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This post was initially published in April 2017.NJMoneyHelp.com presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.