Although the concept of bankruptcy is simple — discharging debt to regain your financial footing — the proceedings are complicated. Whether you are filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13, disputes can theoretically arise at every stage of the process, which can extend the total timeline and prevent you from getting the debt relief you need. If you want to discharge your debt as soon as possible, familiarize yourself with the timeline so you can prepare all necessary documentation in advance.
Guide to Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: A Timeline
Six to Eight Years Before Filing
If you filed for bankruptcy in the past, you must wait a certain amount of time before doing so again. If your prior bankruptcy was also Chapter 7, eight years must pass before you can file again. If it was Chapter 13, you must wait six years or until you have paid back at least 70% of your unsecured debt.
One Year Before Filing
Once you have decided to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, do not transfer any significant assets or property to loved ones. Otherwise, you could be accused of fraud.
The Filing Date
Once you file your petition with the help of a bankruptcy attorney, the proceedings will commence. Every case is different, but in general, you can expect it to take between three and six months to discharge your debt.
15 Days After Filing
After filing, you have just over two weeks to provide the court with certain financial documents. If you hire a lawyer, expect them to file this paperwork with the original bankruptcy petition. Within 15 days of filing, the court will also send your creditors a notice regarding your case, which will enact the automatic stay that stops creditors from taking further action to collect your debts.
30 Days After Filing
Within a month, you must file a Statement of Intention, which contains details about the property serving as collateral for your debt. If you wish to keep these assets, you must reaffirm the debt related to it and continue making regular payments. You will have 45 days after filing this statement to surrender the property or keep it and continue making payments on it.
Six Weeks After Filing
Between three and six weeks after filing, the court will hold a meeting with your creditors. The bankruptcy trustee will preside over this meeting, which you must attend.
Two to Three Months After the Meeting of Creditors
Your creditors have 60 days to object to any discharges listed in your petition. If they do, your attorney will help you resolve the issues that arise. Within 90 days of the meeting, your creditors must file proofs of claim that specify how much you owe them so it can be discharged.
All told, proceedings are usually resolved within six months of the date of filing, but it is common for roadblocks to arise along the way. If you want to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, turn to Sam Turco Law Offices in Omaha and Lincoln, NE, for quality guidance every step of the way. Their legal team will handle all the paperwork so you can focus on more important things, like protecting your financial security and providing for your family. To learn more about their legal counsel, visit their website, or call (402) 614-7171 to schedule a consultation.