When your bankruptcy ends, most of your debts are released[?] and you no longer need to pay them. However, there may be some debts that you still need to pay.
For more information see: What happens to my debts
Can I apply for credit?
There’s no restriction on applying for credit after your bankruptcy ends. It’s up to the credit provider to decide if they will lend you money.
You should be aware, however that your credit report[?] will continue to show your bankruptcy for either:
- 2 years from when your bankruptcy ends or
- 5 years from the date you became bankrupt (whichever is later).
Are there any employment restrictions?
The Bankruptcy Act 1966 does not impose any restrictions on employment, either during or after bankruptcy. However some trades or professions may impose restrictions.
We recommend you contact the relevant agency or association to see if your bankruptcy will impact your employment. Common professions that bankruptcy may affect are listed under employment restrictions.
Can I travel overseas?
Yes. You no longer need your trustees’ permission to travel overseas when your bankruptcy ends.
Do I need to keep in contact with my trustee?
Normally you don't. In some cases, your trustee continues to manage your bankruptcy, even after it has ended. For example, your trustee has claimed your house as an asset and they haven’t sold it yet.
Your trustee may still request you to:
- provide information about your financial situation
- make any outstanding compulsory payments[?].
You can get also help from a free financial counsellor by contacting the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007. Financial counsellors offer free, independent and confidential services to discuss your situation and help you get back on track. The National Debt Helpline website also has step by step guides and useful information on how to deal with specific types of debts, such as housing, tax debt or Centrelink debt.
For more information on financial counsellors and other support services see Where to find help.
Case study: Mei Ling and Matt
For two years they tried to survive on Mei Ling’s wage, struggling to make repayments on their overdue credit cards and loans. They ended up with unsecured debts of over $65,000.
The only assets they owned were a car worth $5,000 and general household goods (fridge, couch, bed, etc).
The pressure from their creditors became too much to handle. Debt collectors and process servers were constantly calling on them. Their electricity was turned off a few times and they stopped answering phone calls because it always seemed to be bad news. Matt’s health was also suffering and he was treated for depression. Most nights Mei Ling would end up in tears thinking about their situation.
They finally decided to see a financial counsellor. There was no charge for this service. The financial counsellor looked through their finances and suggested they consider filing for bankruptcy.
Matt and Mei Ling went home and looked in detail at the AFSA website. They read all about their options and the consequences of bankruptcy. The AFSA website showed that they would be able to keep their car because it was worth less than the set amount. They read they could also keep their household goods. In the end, they decided that bankruptcy would be the best option for them.
After downloading and completing the Bankruptcy Form, they lodged it with AFSA. There was no fee to apply for bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy is not the right option for everyone, but for Matt and Mei Ling it provided a way out of their debt crisis. They made a fresh financial start and regained control over their lives. This provided enormous relief to the couple. Matt was able to stop worrying about debt and find a new job.
Their bankruptcies ended 2 years ago. They continue to regularly see a financial counsellor and they keep to a budget. This keeps their finances under control so they do not find themselves in the same position in the future.
Their new budget also allows for some savings to be put aside from their income and for the first time in 10 years, Mei Ling and Matt are planning an overseas holiday in the not too distant future.