Free Case Evaluation

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Timeline

Anyone considering filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy as a way to deal with debt is wise to learn what to expect from a Chapter 7 case before taking the plunge. Here's a look at what to expect during a typical Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy case.

  • Six to eight years before filing: In order to be eligible for Chapter 7 protection, a filer cannot have a bankruptcy discharge in her recent past (at least six years must pass between a Chapter 13 and a Chapter 7; at least eight years must pass between two Chapter 7 cases).
  • One year before filing: In this period, filers cannot preferentially repay any creditors or attempt to prevent creditors from getting property by transferring, destroying or concealing it. Any of these actions could jeopardize the bankruptcy court's protection and ruin a filer's chances at getting a debt discharge.
  • 180 days before filing: In this period, a filer must complete a credit counseling briefing. In addition, if he filed a prior bankruptcy case that was dismissed by request or otherwise, he must wait 180 days before filing another case.
  • 90 days before filing: Filers must live in their state at least this long before filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy there. Any credit purchases of luxury goods in this period could be ineligible for discharge.
  • Day of filing: The automatic stay will take effect, preventing all creditors from taking any collection action against the filer. This protection lasts for the duration of the case. At this time, a bankruptcy trustee will be assigned to the case and notice will be sent to all creditors listed on the petition.
  • 15 days after filing: Before this period ends, filers must submit certain schedules of information detailing assets, debts and obligations (many people file these with the original petition). In this period, a Notice of Commencement of Case will likely arrive in the mail for the filer and all creditors.
  • 30 days after filing: Before this period ends, filers must submit a Statement of Intention detailing whether they plan to keep the property that secures their debts. A bankruptcy lawyer can explain this step in more detail.
  • Six weeks after filing: By this point, the Meeting of the Creditors is held. Filers must attend to swear to the completeness and accuracy of all information included in their bankruptcy forms. Any creditors that object to the information listed in a bankruptcy petition can contest the information.
  • After the creditors meeting: Creditors have a limited period of time in which they can object to or accept the information presented at the Meeting of the Creditors. If no creditors object, the case can move forward toward discharge.
  • Four to six months after filing: At this point, most Chapter 7 filers receive a discharge from the court.

If you have further questions about the details of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy timeline, please take this opportunity to speak directly with a bankruptcy lawyer. Just fill out the case review form below to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with an attorney near you.

Free Case Evaluation

The above summary is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.  Laws may have changed since our last update.  For legal advice on your particular situation, contact a local bankruptcy attorney.