Five FAQs About Bankruptcy in South Carolina

chapter 7 bankruptcyThese are questions I frequently get in my practice, and I’ll note up front that the answer to all of them really is “it depends.”  It depends on your assets, your debts, and your income and expenses, and no two case are alike.  But, this will hopefully give you an idea of the answer, and a place to go for more information.  The best idea is to consult an experienced bankruptcy lawyer in your area (like the ones who write for this blog).

1.  Can I file bankruptcy and keep my house, car, etc?  The answer to this one will depend on how much equity you have in the property you are concerned about, and whether you can still afford to make payments if you owe on a mortgage or car loan.  But, the fact of the matter is that many, if not most people who file bankruptcy keep either their house, their cars, or both.

2.  How long will bankruptcy stay on my credit?  Bankruptcy can be reported for up to 10 years, but often does not stay on your report for that long, for reasons that are beyond the scope of this article.  However, with good trade lines (like making your mortgage payment on time) you may see a marked improvement in your credit score much sooner, within 2-3 years.

3.  Will I go to jail?  Unless the debt you are concerned about is alimony or child support, no.  Obviously, you can be jailed for some types of criminal fraud, but you cannot be jailed simply because you owe a civil debt, unless that debt is for domestic support.  (I note reports from other states to the contrary, apparently because of failure to to court orders, but I am unaware of any such cases in South Carolina.)

4.  Will my friends, family, or employer know about my bankruptcy?  Usually the answer to this one is no, but there are no guarantees.  Bankruptcy is public record, but it is not easy to access those records.  You can’t generally Google someone and see whether they have filed bankruptcy.  On the other hand you never know who you’ll run into when you go to court, but generally they are there for the same reasons you are, and neither of you has an interest in blabbing about it.

5.  How do I repair my credit after bankruptcy?  Again, depending on your circumstances, you may need to do very little.  You will need to check your credit report to ensure that all of the debts that were discharged in bankruptcy are reported that way, and that any others are also reported accurately.  If you are continuing to pay mortgage or car loans, and you pay them on time, that will help.  But the best remedy is time.  And another thing to consider–what do you need credit for?  If you are focused on savings, you may not need to worry so much about your credit score.



Däna Wilkinson (pronounced "Donna") is a bankruptcy lawyer practicing in Spartanburg, South Carolina and serving South Carolina's upstate region, including Greenville, Spartanburg, Gaffney, Union, Anderson, Easley and Pickens. She has been in practice for more years than she cares to count, but it’s more than 20 years. Däna has been a bankruptcy lawyer from the very beginning of her career as a lawyer.

Däna went to law school at the University of South Carolina, where she was Student Works Editor on the South Carolina Law Review and a member of the Order of Coif. She started doing bankruptcy work while still a student, working for a bankruptcy boutique firm whose members included a Chapter 7 panel trustee, and recognized experts in Chapter 11 reorganizations. She enjoyed the work from the beginning, and upon graduation took a job as a law clerk to the Honorable Rodney Bernard, bankruptcy judge for the Western District of Louisiana. Judge Bernard had spent a number of years on the bankruptcy bench, and was an excellent teacher and mentor. Upon Judge Bernard’s retirement, Däna stayed on for a time as clerk to the Honorable Donald W. Boe, until homesickness for South Carolina struck, and she returned to private practice in Charleston. Four years later, she received an offer to return to Columbia, where she practiced until 1997.

In 1997, planning to start a family, Däna decided to return home to the Upstate, and opened her own practice in Spartanburg in 1998. Over the years, Däna represented all sorts of parties in bankruptcy: business debtors in reorganization, individual debtors, creditors and creditors’ committees, and trustees. In establishing her own practice Däna decided to focus on consumer debtors, ordinary people who find themselves overwhelmed by debt. Her focus is on the individual needs of clients, and on crafting a solution to their unique financial needs. She is committed to helping clients make a fresh start, and preserving their dignity in the process.

Däna is the proud mother of a beautiful, talented and very active daughter, who is, as her mother says, “practically perfect.” She is also active in both church and community activities, all of which means that there is a fair chance that any given blog post was written while in the car pool line or while waiting for a hearing or a meeting to start.

Däna is also certified as a bankruptcy specialist by the South Carolina Supreme Court, which means that she has taken and passed a proficiency examination on bankruptcy law, devoted her practice to bankruptcy for a number of years, and continues to take classes on bankruptcy law and related issues.

Contact information for Däna Wilkinson:

Law Office of Däna Wilkinson
365-C East Blackstock Road
Spartanburg, SC 29301
(864) 574-7944
[email protected]

Däna also blogs at

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