Bankruptcy Discharge Revocation: Grounds for Revocation, Legal Process

This article provides a comprehensive guide on the grounds for revocation of bankruptcy discharge, detailing the legal process, relevant statutes, and preventive measures to help debtors and creditors understand and navigate this critical aspect of bankruptcy law.


Bankruptcy discharge is a critical aspect of bankruptcy law, offering debtors relief from their financial obligations. However, this relief is not absolute. Under certain circumstances, a bankruptcy discharge can be revoked. This article provides a comprehensive guide on the grounds for revocation of bankruptcy discharge and the legal process involved. We will explore the relevant statutes, case law, and procedural rules governing this area of law.

What is Bankruptcy Discharge?


A bankruptcy discharge releases the debtor from personal liability for certain specified types of debts. In essence, it is a court order that prohibits creditors from taking any action to collect discharged debts from the debtor. The discharge is a fundamental goal of bankruptcy, providing the debtor with a "fresh start."

The legal basis for bankruptcy discharge is found in various sections of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, particularly 11 U.S.C. § 727 for Chapter 7 bankruptcies. The discharge provisions differ depending on the type of bankruptcy filed, such as Chapter 7, Chapter 11, or Chapter 13.

Grounds for Revocation of Bankruptcy Discharge


One of the primary grounds for revocation of a bankruptcy discharge is fraud. If it is discovered that the debtor obtained the discharge through fraudulent means, the court may revoke the discharge. This includes making false statements, concealing assets, or other deceptive practices.

  • 11 U.S.C. § 727(d)(1): This section allows for revocation if the discharge was obtained through fraud, and the requesting party did not know of the fraud until after the discharge was granted.


Misconduct by the debtor during the bankruptcy process can also lead to revocation of the discharge. This includes actions such as failing to comply with court orders, not providing required documentation, or otherwise not cooperating with the bankruptcy trustee.

  • 11 U.S.C. § 727(d)(2): This section provides for revocation if the debtor acquired property that is property of the estate, or became entitled to acquire property that would be property of the estate, and knowingly and fraudulently failed to report the acquisition or entitlement to the trustee.

Failure to Explain Loss of Assets

If the debtor cannot satisfactorily explain any loss of assets or deficiency of assets to meet the debtor's liabilities, the discharge may be revoked.

  • 11 U.S.C. § 727(d)(3): This section allows for revocation if the debtor committed an act specified in subsection (a)(6) of this section.

Other Grounds

Other grounds for revocation can include failure to complete a required financial management course or other specific conditions set by the court.

Initiating the Revocation Process

The process to revoke a bankruptcy discharge typically begins with a motion or complaint filed by a creditor, the bankruptcy trustee, or the United States Trustee. The motion must be filed within a certain time frame, usually one year after the discharge was granted or the case was closed.

Relevant Rules

  • Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, Rule 4004: This rule governs the procedure for objecting to the discharge of a debtor and includes provisions for revocation of discharge.

Court Proceedings

Once a motion for revocation is filed, the court will schedule a hearing. The debtor will have the opportunity to respond to the allegations. Both parties may present evidence and witness testimony.

Case Law Examples

  • In re Jones, 178 B.R. 1 (Bankr. D.N.M. 1995): This case illustrates the court's approach to revocation based on fraudulent conduct by the debtor.
  • In re Gillis, 403 B.R. 137 (1st Cir. BAP 2009): This case discusses revocation due to the debtor's failure to report acquired property.

Burden of Proof

The burden of proof lies with the party seeking revocation. They must demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence that the grounds for revocation exist.

Possible Outcomes

If the court finds in favor of the movant, the discharge will be revoked, and the debtor will be liable for the debts that were previously discharged. If the court denies the motion, the discharge remains in effect.

Consequences of Revocation

Impact on the Debtor

Revocation of discharge has severe consequences for the debtor. The debtor becomes liable for the previously discharged debts, and creditors can resume collection efforts. Additionally, the debtor's credit report will reflect the revocation, further damaging their creditworthiness.

Revocation may also lead to additional legal actions, including potential criminal charges if fraud or other illegal activities are involved.

Preventive Measures

Full Disclosure

Debtors should ensure full and accurate disclosure of all assets, liabilities, and financial transactions during the bankruptcy process.

Compliance with Court Orders

Strict compliance with all court orders and requirements is essential to avoid grounds for revocation.

Engaging competent legal counsel can help navigate the complexities of bankruptcy and avoid pitfalls that could lead to revocation.


Revocation of bankruptcy discharge is a serious matter with significant consequences for the debtor. Understanding the grounds for revocation and the legal process involved is crucial for both debtors and creditors. By adhering to legal requirements and maintaining transparency, debtors can minimize the risk of discharge revocation.

For more detailed information, refer to the following official resources:

By following these guidelines and understanding the legal framework, individuals can better navigate the complexities of bankruptcy discharge and its potential revocation.

About the author
Von Wooding, Esq.

Von Wooding, Esq.

Lawyer and Founder

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