Your bankruptcy case will last between 5 months and 5 years depending on what type of bankruptcy you file and if there are complications.
Chapter 7 Time Frame
If you file Chapter 7, your bankruptcy case will usually last around 5 months. Chapter 7 is designed to wipe out debt – shortly after we file, a written notice from the clerk of court will be mailed out to all of your creditors and the United States trustee. The trustee will then appoint a Chapter 7 trustee to administer your case.
Approximately 30 days after we file, you and your lawyer must attend a “meeting of creditors” hearing that lasts about 10 minutes. During this hearing the Chapter 7 trustee will ask you a series of questions about your financial history and any creditors with questions can also appear.
After your hearing, the trustee and creditors have only a short time to file objections. Some of these deadlines are as short as 10 days, while creditors have up to 60 days after your hearing to object. In our experience, objections to Chapter 7 cases are rarely filed; we will generally know that there is a possible problem long before the meeting of creditors.
If nobody files an objection, your case will be processed for discharge. The entire process takes about 5 months and well over 95% of cases go through without any problems. If all goes as planned, you will have your Order of Chapter 7 Discharge which legally wipes out your debts around 5 months after filing.
Chapter 13 Time Frame
If you file Chapter 13, your bankruptcy will last at least 3 years, but most likely 5 years. The first 3 months of your Chapter 13 critical because that is when we finalize our repayment plan and work out any objections by the Chapter 13 trustee or creditors.
Most Chapter cases will either fail or get approved at the plan confirmation hearing. The confirmation hearing will usually be scheduled about 3 months after we file your case. If your case is confirmed, you will remain in bankruptcy for the full 5 year term required by bankruptcy law.
If you successfully complete your plan, you will receive a Chapter 13 discharge, which means that any debts modified by your plan are now permanently extinguished.
Obviously there are a lot of details associated with both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. But the bottom line remains – Chapter 7 usually lasts about 5 months and Chapter 13 usually lasts about 5 years.