It takes folks a long time to realize that
they are bankrupt and need to file
Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
It can take a long time to gather
the required information to file a case.
You have to do the stupid pre-bankruptcy credit counseling, too.
How Long Does It Take From When It Starts?
Now, that I can be a little more definite about.
Chapter 13, and Chapter 11 bankruptcy, are payment plans that can take years, so I will talk about the
I practice primarily in the Eastern District of Michigan, thought he Western District timeline is approximately the same.
Cases are electronically filed with the court, and the computer generates the filing/hearing notice within 24 hours.
Creditors are entitled to at least 20 days notice, so 4 to 5 weeks is what is normal now.
A trustee is randomly assigned by the computer, and the case will be heard at the next available slot for that trustee.
Usually, they are in every two weeks, from 9:00 a.m. every half hour until finished. 7 or 8 cases are scheduled every half hour.
When there were more filings, there was no lunch break and cases could be set as late as 4:30, or, even on a Saturday. Once.
Now, you can file a skeletal petition, without the matrix list of creditors, to get the automatic stay. Then you have 8 days to file the creditor list, and, the court will not generate the notice until the creditor list is filed.
How Long Does It Take From the Court Date?
First, if you have not provided all the required documents to your trustee by the first hearing, it may be adjourned, which pushes out most of the deadlines.
But, if you got everything in on time, and the trustee does not adjourn the hearing, creditors have 60 days from the hearing date to file a complaint in the bankruptcy court if they want your discharge to be denied, or, if they want their specific debt excepted from discharge. No discharge means you still have to pay the debt.
There are some exceptions to discharge that have no deadline, but, I have only seen that once in 37 plus years of bankruptcy practice.
The deadlines to file a motion to dismiss for substantial abuse, that you make (or used to make) too much money to be in Chapter 7, are shorter, 30 days after the hearing.
So, if all goes well, the 61st day after your hearing, the computer spits out the discharge.
However, there is no deadline for the trustee to complete her work.
So, if there is a non-exempt asset, or something of value for the trustee to administer for the benefit of creditors, your chapter 7 bankruptcy case mays stay open for months. Or years.
However, you will still have your discharge.
UNLESS you are accused of lying on your filed papers or at the hearing, or otherwise doing something that a creditor or trustee files a suit to deny your discharge. Then, your case stays open, and the discharge is held up until the case is concluded.
For most cases, 100 days from filing to discharge is normal.