By now, you’re probably already aware of the benefits of Chapter 7 bankruptcy — one of which is that you can get your debt discharged relatively fast. But how long does bankruptcy Chapter 7 take, from filing to closing? How soon can you get a fresh financial start?
While Chapter 7 typically takes four to six months to complete, the time frame can vary depending on the complexity of your case. If your case gets held up in litigation, it can take much longer than that. A Minneapolis Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney can help you avoid the pitfalls that often delay the process.
What Is the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process?
Your case begins when you file your Chapter 7 paperwork with the court. Your documents will detail information about your income, debts, expenses, assets, any exempt property you own, and all recent financial transactions.
Attending Your 341 Meeting of Creditors
Once you file your paperwork, the court will issue an automatic stay, which will prevent your creditors from collecting on your assets. In addition, the court will also schedule a 341 Meeting of Creditors for between 20 to 40 days after your initial filing date. During this hearing, the appointed bankruptcy trustee will ask you questions under oath. Your creditors have the opportunity to ask you questions as well, although this rarely happens. Typically, you’ll only spend ten minutes or less with the bankruptcy trustee.
Handing Over Any Additional Required Information
Some cases may require additional information if your documents are incomplete or any of your creditors raise a particular objection. After the trustee has all the necessary information and documents, they will end the hearing. From the day your hearing ends, your creditors have 30 days to file any objections.
Completing Your Financial Management Courses
You are required to take two financial management courses in order to receive your debt discharge. You must complete the second course within 60 days of your 341 Meeting of Creditors. After completing your course, you’ll file a certificate that proves your completion.
Receiving Your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Discharge
If all goes as planned, you will receive your discharge around 60 days after your 341 hearing. However, your case is not officially closed until the court settles any outstanding issues.
Reasons Why Your Case Could Take Longer
Unfortunately, issues may arise in your case that can make your bankruptcy case take longer:
You Failed to Provide the Necessary Information
If you failed to provide all the necessary information to your bankruptcy trustee, your case will be delayed until that information is turned over.
Your Creditor Has Questions or Objections
Within 30 days of the 341 hearing, your creditors can object or question your bankruptcy’s exemptions. In addition, they also have 60 days after the hearing to object to the court’s decision to discharge your debt. Any objections during these time frames will result in a delay.
The Trustee Is Still Selling Your Property
Until all your non-exempt property is sold, your case will stay open. Though you may still receive a discharge, your case won’t officially close until that property is sold.
You Failed to Take the Financial Education Course
The longer you take to complete your financial education course, the longer your bankruptcy will last.
Consult an Experienced Minneapolis Bankruptcy Attorney
How long does bankruptcy Chapter 7 take? An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help ensure that the process doesn’t suffer from unnecessary delays. Contact Gregory J. Wald Attorney At Law today to learn more.