The Chapter 7 bankruptcy process allows a person to remove qualifying debt without being required to pay into a repayment plan. People who pass the means test are able to keep the property that they need to maintain their home.
There are a number of questions asked by people navigating the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process, but one of the most commonly asked questions is how long a person can expect the bankruptcy process to take. The short answer is that Chapter 7 bankruptcy often takes between four to six months to complete. The more detailed response is that there are a number of factors that can make the bankruptcy process go more quickly or slowly.
The Path of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Many Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases progress without any substantial obstacles. The exact path that Chapter 7 bankruptcy tends to take includes the following steps:
- Filing the appropriate paperwork with the court. This paperwork includes details about your assets, debt, expenses, income, and financial situation.
- After filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court will notify any creditors that they must discontinue any collection activities. The court will establish a date for the court appearance, which is referred to as a 341 meeting and which you will be required to attend.
- If additional information is needed or if you forget to bring any identifying documents to the 341 meeting, the hearing will be rescheduled to another date.
- After receipt of details about the 341 meeting, you will be required to successfully complete a financial management program.
- You will receive a bankruptcy discharge, which is an order issued by a court that removes your debt.
Factors that Make Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Take Longer
Some of the factors that can make Chapter 7 bankruptcy take much longer than four to six months include the following:
- If the bankruptcy trustee ends up needing more information about the bankruptcy process.
- The trustee is selling property that belongs to the person filing for bankruptcy. Real estate has the potential to take a long time to sell. In these situations, a person will often receive the discharge but their case will remain open until the property is sold.
- You want to discharge a student loan, which requires a special process that involves filing a complaint alleging that repaying the debt would result in an undue hardship.
- If for any reason, you delay participation in the mandatory debt education course. In some situations if a person delays the bankruptcy process too long, there is a risk that the court will dismiss the entire case without providing a discharge of the existing debts.
Speak with a Knowledgeable Bankruptcy Attorney
The Chapter 7 process often concludes quickly, but there are many complications that can protract the length of time involved. Fortunately, an experienced bankruptcy attorney at Adam Law Group understands how to best navigate Chapter 7 and can make sure that your bankruptcy process moves as quickly as possible.