Legal English: “Objection to Dischargeability”

An “objection to dischargeability” (Pronunciation: ob-JEK-shun too dis-char-juh-BILL-ih-tee; Origin: Latin) is an objection by a creditor to the wiping out of a particular debt pursuant to a discharge obtained at the end of a bankruptcy case. Obtaining as comprehensive a discharge as possible is one of the main goals of most debtors. Therefore, objections to dischargeability are only granted in certain well-defined circumstances as set forth in the Bankruptcy Code.

Here are some example sentences that use the phrase:

  • “Your Honor, it is our belief that the debtor has perpetrated a number of frauds on its creditors and this court. Accordingly, we intend to file an objection to dischargeability with respect to our claim.”
  • “We have received a number of objections to dischargeability. Apparently, my creditors think that, in addition to being bad with money, I’m also something of an evildoer as well. How can we demonstrate that only the former is true?”

Objections to dischargeability should be distinguished from objections to discharge, in general. The first deals with objections by individual creditors with respect to specific debts. The second deals with the broad denial of any discharges at all for the debtor, and generally means that all debts will remain intact after the closing of the case.

Specific objections to dischargeability can be found at 11 U.S.C. § 523(a). They include:

  • Obtaining credit or property by fraud or falsity;
  • Fiduciary fraud, embezzlement, or larceny; and
  • Willful and malicious injury.

In addition, certain purchases of luxury goods within 90 days prior to the filing of the bankruptcy petition commencing the case, or use of cash advances within 70 days prior thereto are presumed to be non-dischargeable.

For additional legal english terms and definitions, visit our Legal English category page. Washington University School of Law also offers a legal english course, for those who would like to take their learning further.