The average Chapter 7 bankruptcy case for an individual or married couple is pending for about 4 months before it is fully closed. This time frame can vary though. According to the U.S. Courts, the following timelines may serve as a general guide on how long it takes to do a Chapter 7 bankruptcy:
- Between 21 and 40 days after filing, the case trustee will hold a meeting of the filer’s creditors. Certain restrictions may apply if a regular U.S. trustee or bankruptcy administrator is unavailable.
- Within 10 days of this meeting, the U.S. trustee will report to the court if the case appears to be an abuse of the bankruptcy process.
- Within 90 days of the meeting, any unsecured creditors must file a claim with the court (or within 180 days if an unsecured creditor is a government agency).
Many people who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy are able to retain all of their assets. Most bankruptcy cases generally receive a discharge order from the court between 60 and 90 days of the initial meeting of creditors.
The Benefits of Hiring a Bankruptcy Lawyer
While the USC states that you may represent yourself when declaring bankruptcy, there are benefits to hiring a bankruptcy lawyer. Those benefits may include a lawyer’s ability to:
- Weigh the benefits and limitations of filing bankruptcy
- Recommend the best bankruptcy chapter for your financial situation
- Provide information on dischargeable and nondischargeable debt
- Review the bankruptcy consequences for your vehicle, home, and other property
- Define the effect filing bankruptcy might have on your taxes
If you opt to hire a bankruptcy lawyer, they will help you complete, and file necessary forms, advise you about continuing to pay debts, and familiarize you with relevant laws and procedures. A bankruptcy lawyer will also represent you at the Chapter 7 meeting of creditors and at any court hearing held in your case.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Involves a Lot of Paperwork
Declaring Chapter 7 bankruptcy starts with filing a petition for debt relief. When your petition is filed, it should be accompanied by the following schedules:
- Assets and liabilities
- Current income and expenses
- Financial affairs
- Executory contracts
- Unexpired leases
You must also supply your case trustee with all relevant and recent tax returns and might also be required to provide proof of credit counseling and information on state or federal student debt. The forms that create your official petition include:
- Complete list of creditors and amounts owed
- Statement of income sources and amounts
- Complete list of all debtor property
- A detailed list of all monthly living expenses
Because each individual filer will have a unique set of assets, debts, and financial challenges, the process of discharging debt through bankruptcy can be varied and complex. A lawyer in your area might be able to help you compile the right schedules and documents, submit them on time, and stay by your side as you navigate the bankruptcy court system.
For a legal consultation, call 828.286.3866
The Benefits of Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy may allow you to erase overwhelming debt and get a fresh start managing your finances. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can relieve you of the responsibility to repay your creditors and eliminate most or all of your current debt. The USC Bankruptcy defines it as giving debtors a clean financial slate.
An important benefit of filing bankruptcy is that all debt collection efforts must stop as soon as you file. This benefit can provide relief from demanding letters and phone calls that add stress to an already challenging financial situation. Another advantage of Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that it does not require you to file a repayment plan. Instead, you are allowed to retain your assets, and all of your qualifying debts will be discharged.
Find Out if You Qualify to File Bankruptcy
When debt becomes insurmountable or your ability to pay debt changes due to job loss, a change in the family dynamic, or for any other reason, you might need the benefits and protection of filing for bankruptcy. The following people may qualify to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy:
- People who have made a valid effort to repay debt
- People who cannot realistically repay their debt
- Individuals, married couples, and certain businesses
Your lawyer may explain whether you qualify to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and how discharging your debt might allow you to effectively erase debt and start over financially.
We Can Help You Discharge Overwhelming Debt Through Bankruptcy
Filing bankruptcy does not have to be a daunting process. Our team represents individuals and small business owners who need the debt relief of Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Contact a case review team member today to find out how long it takes to do a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and how soon you might expect to benefit from a fresh start. Call (828) 286-3866 to reach the Rutherfordton office at Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, today.