WHAT IS A DISCHARGE IN BANKRUPTCY? A bankruptcy discharge releases the debtor from personal liability for certain debts. In other words, the debtor is no longer legally required to pay any debts that are discharged. The discharge is a permanent order prohibiting the creditors of the debtor from taking any form of collection action on discharged debts, including legal action and communications with the debtor, such as telephone calls, letters, and personal contacts. Although a debtor is not personally liable for discharged debts, a secured creditor may enforce the lien to recover the property secured by the lien such as a car repossession or a mortgage foreclosure in the event those debts are not paid.