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Plastic Surgery, Gambling Debt, Expensive Clothing: Can They Be Discharged in Bankruptcy?

Question: My wife has a mental illness and spent a lot of money on clothes, plastic surgery and gambling. She has bipolar disorder and when she gets in a manic episode she just spends money. She will but designer clothes at stores in Atlanta and get plastic surgery from top-rated surgeons in North Fulton County and she goes to casinos with friends and loses huge sums playing the slot machines, poker and blackjack.

She got her nose done by a famous plastic surgeon. She bought clothes at Phipps Plaza and in Midtown. She gambled in North Carolina at an Indian Reservation. She even paid for her friend to have her varicose veins done and then she bought her an expensive dress and then they went gambling where my wife paid for her.

Our credit cards are totally maxxed out and we had to borrow against our house in Cumming. I also work in Cumming.

I don't want anyone to know about all this. It's embarrassing. I need to know if we can eliminate the debt that she took on in bankruptcy. A good friend of mine said that since it could not be put into a bankruptcy because medical debt, gambling debts and debts to stores cannot be included in a bankruptcy filing in Georgia. Is that true? What can we do?

Answer: All of the types of debt that you mentioned – gambling, retail and medical – are dischargeable in bankruptcy. That is, all the debts can be eliminated through filing bankruptcy. Your friend's assessment was incorrect. The most difficult debts to eliminate in bankruptcy are, generally speaking, child support, student loans and IRS tax debt which can be discharged, with certain exceptions, after a few years.

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