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Can You Erase Your Bankruptcy Record Early?

Filing for bankruptcy comes with the understanding that notice of the bankruptcy will appear on your credit report for years to come — specifically, seven years after filing a Chapter 13 and 10 years after filing a Chapter 7.

A lot can happen in the time between declaring bankruptcy and being discharged with a clear record. You may find the love of your life and decide to build a new home together or you come up with a great idea and want to launch a company. A bankruptcy on your record can hurt your ability to secure a loan for a house or a business, so it makes sense that you’d want your credit report scrubbed before the seven or 10 years are up.

In many cases, having a bankruptcy record cleared before the time limit expires is not possible, but there are certain exceptions to that rule. If a bankruptcy has been misreported in any way — whether due to a clerical error, fraud or some other irregularity — challenging the details of a credit report may give you a chance at having the bankruptcy removed from your record. This can be a lengthy process, but when you’re facing years’ worth of bad credit ahead of you, the effort may be worthwhile.

To challenge the accuracy of a credit report — based on anything from a misspelling of your name to a serious case of mistaken identity — you have to file dispute letters with each of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. The letters should be fact-based and carefully written, so that they are not dismissed as empty complaints. Alternatively, you can ask each of the credit bureaus to prove how they confirmed your bankruptcy. In most cases, they will point to court records. You will then have to contact the proper court to inquire into how it independently verified your bankruptcy. If the court did not do so, you can show proof of this to the credit bureaus and ask them to remove the bankruptcy from your credit report. An experienced lawyer or credit repair company can help.

The Law Offices of James C. Zimmermann focus on the legal issues surrounding bankruptcy and foreclosure. For assistance handling the complex details and repercussions of debt relief, call us at 973-764-1633 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. We have offices in Hackensack, Vernon, Wayne, Pompton Lakes and Nutley, and we work with clients all across New Jersey.

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