(Time from filing to discharge: usually 4-5 months)
1. Mandatory Credit Counseling
2. File Petition, Schedules, and Statement of Financial Affairs With the Court
When these documents, which you have signed under penalty of perjury, are filed with the Court, you will be assigned a case number and this commences your case. In most cases, immediately upon filing your case, an injunction goes into effect stopping your creditors from taking any further action to collect or recover on any debt you owe without first getting permission from the bankruptcy court (which is only granted for specific purposes). This injunction is called the "automatic stay".
3. Mandatory meeting with the Trustee
This occurs about one month after your case is filed. It is often referred to as the section "341(a) Meeting." It is a very simple meeting usually and only lasts a couple of minutes per debtor.
The Trustee's role is to liquidate (meaning, turn into cash) any non-exempt assets you have. The Trustee then distributes those funds to your creditors according to their statutory rank in the bankruptcy code.
4. Time for Objections By Creditors and Trustee
Your creditors have until 60 days after the date first set for your meeting with the Trustee to file a complaint objecting to the discharge of their debt, or to your entire discharge (see above).
5. Financial Management Course-A financial management course is required to be taken prior to obtaining a final discharge.
The moment you've been waiting for! If nobody objects to your discharge within the 60 day period referenced above, and you have completed all the other requirements, then you will automatically get your Notice of Discharge in the mail shortly thereafter (usually within 4-6 weeks after expiration of the 60-day period).
(Time from filing to discharge: usually 36-65 months)
1. Mandatory Credit Counseling
2. File Petition, Schedules, Tax Returns, and Statement of Financial Affairs and Plan With the Court
In most cases, immediately upon filing your case, an injunction goes into effect stopping your creditors from taking any further action to collect or recover on any debt you owe.
2. Your "PLAN"
In Chapter 13, along with all your other papers, you file a "Plan" of repayment with your creditors.
4. Mandatory meeting with the Trustee
This occurs about one month after your case is filed. It is often referred to as the section "341(a) Meeting."
5. Objections to your Plan
Times for objection vary depending on a variety of factors, but generally all objections must be made prior to the confirmation hearing.
6. Claims of your creditors
Your unsecured creditors are required to file "proofs of claim" with the court in order to be paid from your Plan. Generally your creditors have 90 days following the first meeting date with the Trustee to file their claims. Taxing agencies a have longer period of time in which to file their claims.
7. Plan Confirmation Hearing
After your meeting with the Trustee, the court will hold a hearing on confirmation of your Plan. In most courts, however, it will occur a month or more after your Trustee's meeting. Often the Plan confirmation hearing gets continued in order to allow you to amend your plan or to deal with objections (by the Trustee or creditors) or other issues that arise.
8. Your payments
Your monthly proposed plan payments are due 30 days after your case is filed and then continue for the duration of your plan.
9. Financial management course-A financial management course is required to be taken prior to obtaining a final discharge.
Once you have completed all the required payments due under your plan, the Trustee will start to process your discharge. This usually takes several months to complete after receipt of your final payment.