The question of late fees often comes up following bankruptcy. Whether you’re required to pay late fees after bankruptcy depends on several things.
Are the Late Fees Pre-petition?
If you received a discharge for the debt, all pre-petition late fees were included in the discharge. You don’t have to pay them.
Are the Late Fees Post Petition?
If the late fees were imposed post petition (after you filed), whether you owe them or not depends on whether you reaffirmed the debt. If the debt was reaffirmed, then it was excepted or excluded from the discharge. You owe all late fees as well as the full amount of the reaffirmed debt. However, if the debt wasn’t reaffirmed but you continued to pay, the lender cannot legally collect anything from you, principal, interest or late fees.
You Have to Pay to Keep the Asset.
Remember there is a difference between being personally responsible for paying a debt and keeping the asset that secures the debt. About the only debt that you can just keep paying without reaffirming is a home mortgage. See our post “Should I Reaffirm My Mortgage?” Because of a quirk in the law, if you are current in your mortgage payments when you file bankruptcy, you can just keep paying without reaffirming and keep the house. However, you have to pay everything required by your mortgage agreement in order to keep it. So if you should fall behind after bankruptcy, you have to catch up the late payments and pay any late fees imposed by the mortgage. The bank can’t sue you to try to collect, but it can foreclose on the mortgage if you don’t make all the payments.