Thursday, September 10, 2015

Understanding the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Timeline

I am considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy-- how long will the process take?

For the indebted individual, there are two types of bankruptcy to pursue: Chapter 13 and Chapter 7. Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves a reorganization of debts and assets, as well as a payment plan generally spread out over six years. Chapter 7 on the other hand involves a liquidation of assets in order to absolve and forgive debts.

The Chapter 7 timeline begins with the filing a voluntary petition, at which point the debtor will receive a case number. If there are any mandatory documents missing from the filing, the debtor will have 14 days to amend the petition, a task  with which a bankruptcy attorney can assist.

The next step for the Chapter 7 petitioner is to present tax returns for the most recent tax year. These returns are filed with the trustee assigned to the case, and are not actually filed with the court.

The first major milestone in a Chapter 7 case is the preliminary meeting of the creditors – known as the 341 meeting. This must take place between 21 and 60 days from the date the case is filed. Forty-five days after the 341 meeting, the debtor must file a Financial Management Certification stating that the required financial education course has been completed.

Approximately 60 days after the first meeting with the creditors, the Bankruptcy Court will enter an order discharging individual debts if eligible under the federal rules.

Overall, a debtor considering a chapter 7 proceeding should expect a time commitment of no longer than 3-6 months from the initial filing until the conclusion of the process. From there, the former debtor can begin enjoying financial freedom and experience the relief of having his or her financial portfolio free from the constraints of crushing debt.

If you are considering consumer bankruptcy and would like to discuss your options with a reputable, experienced  attorney, please do not hesitate to contact Brian Lusardi, Esq. at Miami Valley Bankruptcy. Serving clients throughout the Miami Valley, Ohio area, he can be reached at 937-262-4789.

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