When you have made up your mind about declaring a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you would like to know how long that is going to take. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also called liquidation, ordinary bankruptcy or straight bankruptcy.
Optimistically, it can take anywhere from 4 to 6 months to be finally cleared of all your debts, but it does depend on whether or not you provide everything needed, on time and accurately, to keep the process flowing to its conclusion.
In general, allowing for the fact that there are variations in each case, the timeline for filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy includes the following steps:
- You must meet Pennsylvania's residency requirements.
- You much attend pre-bankruptcy credit counseling with an approved agency.
- Once the counseling is completed, you may file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
- You are then asked for several relevant documents such as pay stubs, income tax returns, copies of all of your bills, medical records and a listing of all of your assets and their values.
- Within about 30 days after filing bankruptcy, the court sets up a meeting of creditors. The trustee interviews you and confirms that all the information you have provided is accurate and current.
- Within two months of the creditor meeting, you are required to attend a pre-discharge debtor education program.
- Within approximately two to two and a half months after the meeting of creditors, the court discharges your debts. This only happens if you have followed the bankruptcy filing process properly. If you have followed the bankruptcy filing process correctly, you are then debt-free.
It is important to note that if any issues arise during the bankruptcy filing process, the timeline changes and could be extended, depending on the problem. It is in the debtor's best interest to carefully follow all the required steps and provide accurate and up-to-date information to expedite the process.
A filer, petitioner or debtor who wishes to file for bankruptcy can be any one of the following:
- A business owner
- A business
- A single person
- A married person, filing for themselves only
- A married person, filing jointly with a spouse
Debts that can be wiped out are referred to as dischargeable debts, and they may include:
- Social Security over payments
- Veterans assistance loans
- Business debts
- Past-due rent
- Past-due utility bills
- Personal loans
- Medical bill debt
- Older income tax debt
- Repossession deficiency balances
- Collection agency accounts
- Credit card debt
You cannot wipe out non-dischargeable debts. Those include, but may not be limited to:
- Most student loans
- Recent income tax debt
- Alimony payments
- Child support payments
- Criminal restitution
- Government fines
- Government penalties
At Melaragno, Placidi & Parini, we have your best interests in mind when discussing your bankruptcy situation, and we take the time needed to walk you through all of your options and alternatives. Your first consultation is free. Give us a call today to discuss your situation. We would be happy to help you. Call us at 814-452-2222.