The MLG Blog


How long does a chapter 7 take

October 14, 2009

How long will my case take from start to finish?

That is a very common question from clients, understandably they want to know when they get their “fresh start.”

While the timeline can vary greatly for different clients, generally if there is no real estate involved, or the client is giving up the home, the following timeline lays out the average experience of chapter 7 clients. All dates are calculated with the day of filing your case as day 1. Please refer to the earlier entry on “common terms used in a bankruptcy” for definitions used in this entry.

Pre-filing: The planning and preparation for filing can take the most time for a chapter 7 client. Delaying or accelerating the filing of your case can change the outcome of a chapter 7 greatly. An analysis of an individual’s situation is required to determine how much pre-bankruptcy planning needs to be done.

Day 1: Filing of your case. Your bankruptcy will be filed with the Bankruptcy Court. The automatic stay takes effect, preventing creditors from contacting you or repossessing property for the time being.

Day 4 or 5: Notice of first meeting of creditors is sent out by the court. This notice states when and where your meeting will take place.

Day 31: The first meeting of creditors takes place. The person(s) filing bankruptcy meet with their attorney and the trustee. The trustee will put the person(s) filing under oath and ask them general questions about their petition.

Day 60 to 90: Discharge order is signed. If the trustee doesn’t raise any issues with your bankruptcy the court will issue a discharge order. This order wipes away dischargeable debt.

Day 120 to 150: Order closing the case is signed.

As you will notice there is only one date in this generic timeline that requires the people filing to meet with the trustee. If everything goes smoothly the people filing bankruptcy will have long periods of time when they do nothing.

It is important to remember that your case could differ from this generic timeline. You should consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney for an analysis of your individual situation.

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