Time To Complete A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case

07 Aug Time To Complete A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case

The most common form of consumer bankruptcy, a Chapter 7 filing, takes about 90 days to complete. For each case filed, the court assigns a trustee and schedules a date for a meeting of creditors. This meeting occurs about 30 days into the process. (And it does NOT take place in a courtroom.)

At the meeting of creditors, the bankruptcy trustee asks the debtor a series of questions. This is done to make sure the petition is complete, accurate and truthful. (Most trustees conduct about 6 of these meetings in a half-hour.) After the meeting is over, 60 days remain before the debts are scheduled for discharge.

So what happens before the 3-month timeline? This is more difficult to answer. Because every case is unique, it takes some time for the bankruptcy lawyer to determine “when” a case should be filed. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. record gathering: tax returns, pay records, and credit statements are needed in advance
  2. legal issues: time may be needed to explore particular legal concerns
  3. cooling off period: cards may have been used recently for purchases or cash advances
  4. income spike: because the means test measures gross income over a 6 month window, it may be beneficial to wait a while for income to lower
  5. legal expenses: time is needed to pre-pay court costs, education expenses and legal fees

If you are considering filing bankruptcy, you should request a consultation with a qualified attorney immediately. This will allow time to properly prepare your case and make the process less stressful.

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