How long does the average Chapter 7 bankruptcy case take?
After you have researched Chapter 7 bankruptcy and determined it is the best course of action for you, you may have additional questions. You will likely find yourself wondering what the next steps involve and how long the entire process will take. A Chapter 7 case can take several months to complete and will require that you adhere to certain steps to ensure you achieve the discharge of your debts. Our Xenia, Ohio Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers offer an overview of the time frame of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy below.
Preparing to File Your Chapter 7 Petition
Before you file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will need to prepare. First, you will need to ensure you qualify for Chapter 7, which has strict income requirements. You will want to retain a bankruptcy attorney who will review your income, assets, and debts to determine if you have a viable Chapter 7 action. Next, before you file, you will want to get your paperwork in order, including a list of your debts and creditor information. Lastly, you are required to complete a mandatory credit counseling course within 180 days of filing your Chapter 7 petition.
Filing for Bankruptcy
With preparations complete, your attorney will help you to complete the necessary bankruptcy forms which will list your property and creditors. You will need to provide the bankruptcy court with a list of your financial transactions during the previous two years. You must further mail the bankruptcy trustee a copy of your tax returns at least seven days before the meeting of creditors.
The Meeting of Creditors
Within 40 days of the filing of your petition, you will attend the meeting of creditors. This meeting is conducted in a hearing room with the trustee. You will need to answer under oath any questions asked by the trustee about your debts. You can have your lawyer in attendance with you.
Within 60 days of the creditors meeting, you will need to attend budget counseling and provide the court with a copy of the certificate showing completion of this step. At this point, you will need to wait about 60 to 75 days for a written discharge of your debts. Creditors have the ability to object to the discharge of any of these debts during this time period. Typically, a Chapter 7 case from start to finish will take between four to six months. This is a relatively short timeframe for you to reset your financial life and start rebuilding your finances.