When debts pile up and money runs short, filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 gives people a fresh start. But how long does it take to complete the process? Here is a basic timetable for filing the legal documents and obtaining the court discharge that brings long-term financial relief.
Before Filing a Chapter 7
Within 180 days before filing for bankruptcy, the law requires debtors to complete a credit counseling seminar offered by a government-approved organization. Individuals must take a means test to determine whether they qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This test takes into account income and debts for six months before submitting a petition.
Filing a Petition
While a Chapter 13 bankruptcy takes up to five years to complete, most Chapter 7 cases require about four months to a year from filing. Between three to five weeks after filing for bankruptcy, the court holds a Meeting of Creditors, often called a 341 hearing. The proceeding gives creditors and the bankruptcy trustee a chance to ask questions and make sure the petition information is accurate.
Receiving a Discharge
About 60 to 90 days after the 341 hearing, debtors can receive their bankruptcy discharge. Before the court grants a discharge of debts, individuals must take a personal financial management course and show the court a certificate of completion.
Individuals filing for bankruptcy in the New York City area depend on the staff at We The People of NY to type up their petitions according to court standards and walk them through the process. With over 25 years of experience, these skilled professionals will help you get through the challenge of preparing the legal documents while keeping your costs low. Call (212) 633-2200 or visit their storefront, without an appointment. For more information on the topic, check out their website, and follow them on Twitter for regular news and updates.