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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process

(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.

6. 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).

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Process

(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.

  • A. In a Chapter 13 you are paying ALL of your projected disposable income into the plan for a minimum of 36 months, and a maximum of 60 months.
  • B. Your creditors will receive no less than they would receive if you did a Chapter 7 liquidation. In other words, if you have assets which are not fully exempt, then you need to pay out at least the value of the non-exempt assets amount over the term of your Plan.
  • C. Certain creditors must be paid 100% through your Plan, so you must have sufficient disposable income to be able to do this in the required time frame. Examples of creditors needing to be paid 100% are: Mortgage arrearages, taxes less than 3 years old, past due child support or alimony and vehicles purchased within the past 2 1/2 years.

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.

10. 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.

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We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.
This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. The Cook Law Firm, APLC is not engaged in rendering legal or other professional services by posting said material.