The Cassidy Law Firm Blog

Monday, February 15, 2021

How Long Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Take?

Have you been experiencing financial difficulties where the weight of your outstanding debt has become seemingly unmanageable? If so, you may have considered filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which can provide much needed financial relief and a fresh start. When you are in the throes of financial hardship, however, you may be, understandably, impatient for that fresh start. The question then becomes, how long does Chapter 7 bankruptcy take?

How Long Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Take?

Generally speaking, Chapter 7 bankruptcy takes around 4 to 6 months to complete. The time-frames vary, of course, depending on things such as your speed at providing the bankruptcy trustee with requested documents or whether or not some of your non-exempt property will need to be sold off in order to satisfy creditor claims. Another aspect of Chapter 7 bankruptcy that can make proceedings significantly increase in length is if you are attempting to have your student loans discharged. Student loan discharge in bankruptcy is actually possible, but it can be difficult and require an extensive trial.

The length of time it takes to complete Chapter 7 bankruptcy and to be granted your bankruptcy discharge depends on how long it takes to complete the required steps of the bankruptcy proceedings. The process starts with the filer gathering all of the necessary documents, such as financial statements and tax returns. The filer must also prepare all of the necessary paperwork, which can be rather extensive and end up totaling upwards of 50 pages.

Individual debtor filers must also complete a credit counseling course from an approved provider. While this course may only take a few hours, it must be completed prior to the bankruptcy forms being filed. The forms and counseling certificate must be provided to the clerk of the bankruptcy court and the filing fee must be paid. In lieu of the filing fee, a request to pay in installments or a waiver may be filed. Once filed, there is an automatic stay put in place that stops all collection efforts.

Once filed, creditors must be sent a Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case which includes the case number and whether there will be money available for creditors. The notice will also provide the date and location of the 341 meeting of creditors that all individual bankruptcy filers must attend. The 341 meeting is set no less than three weeks after the date of filing, but no greater than 40 days afterward.

Once your case is filed, you must complete a debtor education course. The certificate of course completion must be filed within 60 days of your first 341 meeting of creditors. If you fail to do so, your case will get dismissed without you receiving a discharge of your qualifying debt.

Creditors have 60 days after the date of the first date of the 341 meeting of creditors to object to the court discharging its debt. The court will wait until this deadline has passed before discharging debts. After you have provided 512 documents, which usually include bank statements and tax returns and must be done so at least seven days prior to the initial 341 meeting of the creditors, you must attend the actual 341 meeting. At the meeting, you will be asked to verify your identity and attest to the accuracy of your bankruptcy petition under oath. The meeting usually only lasts for no more than 10 minutes. Once all of the above steps have been completed, the court will issue an order discharging your qualifying debt.

New Jersey Bankruptcy Attorneys

Do you need financial relief? Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be right for you. The Cassidy Law Firm can help guide you through the entire process. Contact us today.

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