Chapter 7 Process

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The following chronology provides a general outline of how a bankruptcy proceeds. Depending on the rules of civil procedure and the state laws where you live, the entire process can take from as little as 90 days.

  • A bankruptcy case begins with a petition. We will prepare this complex document, using detailed information that you will need to supply.
  • Upon the filing of a chapter 13 or chapter 7 petition, federal law imposes an “automatic stay” which prevents your creditors from taking any action to collect debts against you during the pendency of the bankruptcy.
  • Depending on where you live, sometime between immediately and a month after you file, the Bankruptcy Court will send out a Notice of Filing and a Notice of Stay to your creditors.This notice makes it illegal for your creditors to continue trying to collect from you.
  • Between four and six weeks after your filing, you will have to attend a “meeting of creditors” chaired by the trustee assigned to your case. Under most circumstances, this is a brief meeting. The trustee will ask you a few questions and then will give any creditors in attendance the opportunity to ask questions.
  • If the meeting of creditors is uneventful, the process is probably over for you in 20 minutes.You will receive a Notice of Discharge in about six weeks.
  • Once you receive a Notice of Discharge, you may have to fill in forms to get a judgment removed from a judgment roll, but other than bookkeeping matters, you have been given a fresh start.