The idea of declaring bankruptcy can be intimidating to many people, especially those who don’t know what’s ahead of them. If you’re considering declaring Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you might be dreading the uncertainty of what lies ahead in the days, weeks, and months to follow. To help you better understand what this process entails, here is a brief and highly-simplified Chapter 7 bankruptcy timeline.
- Before Filing: Before you can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are required by law to complete a credit counseling course, which usually takes around 90 minutes and can be done either online or by phone.
- Step 1 – Filing: Once you have completed the mandatory paperwork, you must bring it to the appropriate court to officially file for bankruptcy. Once you have officially filed, your automatic stay will immediately begin.
- Step 2 – Provide Documentation to Your Trustee: Your case will be assigned a bankruptcy trustee who will oversee affairs and liaise between you and your creditors. You’ll need to provide them with your most recent tax return, pay stubs, and other documents they ask for. This will happen within a few days of your filing.
- Step 3 – Attend a Creditor’s Meeting: Roughly 30 days after your official filing, you’ll need to attend a meeting of your creditors that’s conducted by your trustee. Most of the time your creditors themselves don’t even bother to show up and you simply have to answer a few questions from your trustee while under oath regarding information on your paperwork. These usually don’t last more than 15 minutes or so, and some last less than five minutes.
- Step 4 – Mandatory Budget Counseling: No more than 60 days after your creditor’s meeting, you’ll have to attend a budget counseling course by phone or online. Once this is completed, you’ll have to file a form and a certificate of completion with the court to let them know you’ve finished this required process.
- Step 5 – Obtain a Discharge: Over the next two months or so, your creditors will have the opportunity to object to your debts being discharged and your trustee will make arrangements for you to transfer any non-exempt property to them for liquidation (if you have any). Once this process is completed, the court sends you a notice that your debts have been discharged. This is the official completion of your case.
Remember, your own case is unique and has its own provisions and obstacles that must be overcome in order to complete it. To learn more about what your own specific timeline would look like, it’s strongly advised you discuss your options with a Northbrook bankruptcy attorney.Call Bach Law Offices today at (847) 448-0025 to request a case evaluation!