If you are considering bankruptcy, you’re probably already aware of the benefits of Chapter 7 — one of them being the relative speed at which you can discharge your debt. But how long does bankruptcy Chapter 7 take? And what can you do to ensure that you don’t delay the process?
A bankruptcy lawyer at Farmer & Wright PLLC can help you avoid mistakes that could hold up your case. Contact us today to learn more.
What Is the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Timeline?
From filing to closing, Chapter 7 can take anywhere between four and six months, depending on how complex your case is. Here’s what you can expect during the process:
Within 14 days of filing your bankruptcy petition, you must file supporting documentation. This may include information about your debts, assets, liability, expenses, income, and other financial information. After this, your creditors will get a notification letter about your bankruptcy.
Within 30 days of filing your bankruptcy petition, you will have to inform the court and creditors whether you intend to keep or surrender property. If you want to keep property, you will have to reaffirm the debt and develop a new payment plan.
Meeting of Creditors
Within three to six weeks of filing your petition, you will attend a 341 meeting of the creditors. At this meeting, your creditors will have an opportunity to challenge any information you have presented as well as the discharge of the debt. It is rare that creditors show up to this meeting. Typically, your bankruptcy trustee uses this opportunity to verify all of your information.
Creditors may express objection to the court of bankruptcy exemptions within 30 days of your meeting of creditors. A formal objection must be filed within 60 days of the meeting. Any creditors challenging your exemptions must file a proof of claims within 90 days of the meeting of creditors.
Financial Management Course
You will also have 60 days to complete a financial management course. This is the second of two courses you must take related to your bankruptcy. The first should have been completed after you filed your case.
Receiving a Discharge
Once your assets have been liquidated and paid your eligible creditors, you will receive a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge.
What Could Delay the Process?
It might take longer than six months to process your bankruptcy if:
- Your creditors have valid objections;
- You didn’t provide all of the necessary information to the bankruptcy court (this may delay your case no more than a month, in most cases;
- You’re requesting discharge of typically ineligible obligations, such as student loans or tax debts;
- You’ve delayed your debt education courses;
- The bankruptcy trustee must sell property (this could result in a moderate to long delay); or
- You are involved in a bankruptcy-related lawsuit (this could result in a lengthy delay).
In order to speed up the process, make sure you provide your bankruptcy attorney and the court with complete information about your finances. It’s also important to collect all necessary documents, keep them organized, meet all deadlines for credit counseling, and attend all required hearings.