Can You File Bankruptcy on Criminal Restitution?

Debts stemming from a fine, penalty, or forfeiture payable to and for the benefit of a governmental body, (other than a tax penalty in some cases), cannot be discharged by bankruptcy. Criminal restitution in all forms will have to be paid in full; however, filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be used to stretch the payment of the restitution out over a 60 month (5 year) period. Extending these payments can be significantly lower than the monthly restitution payments as set up by the court. There may be situations where the restitution cannot be paid in full through the maximum period allowable in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, so the debtor may need to do 2 or more Chapter 13 cases back to back. This would provide for repayment of the restitution over a longer period of time than the 60 months (5 years) allowed in a single Chapter 13 bankruptcy case.

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