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How Long Do Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Cases Take?

That all depends on whether your case is filed under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.  Assuming that you’ve provided your attorney with all of the information needed to get the case filed, for a Chapter 7 case, you should figure that it will take about four to five months until you get your discharge.  For a Chapter 13 case, it will take from three to five years, depending on the length of your Chapter 13 Payment Plan.

Say we file your Chapter 7 case today.  Your Creditors Meeting will be scheduled for about four to six weeks from now.  Then your Creditors (the people who you owe) and the Trustee will have about 60 days to file objections.  The exact deadline date will depend on whether 60 days after your Creditors Meeting is a Saturday or Sunday.  If so, they’ll have until the following Monday. Assuming that no objections have been filed and that you’ve completed the required Financial Management course, you should receive your Discharge shortly thereafter.

So, assuming everything goes well: your Creditors Meeting is scheduled soon after your case is filed; no objections to your discharge are filed; and you do your part by completing the Financial Management course; your discharge could come as soon as three and half months after your case was filed.  But that would be really unusual.  Because of the large backlog of cases, it will probably take four and a half to five months to get the Discharge.

For a Chapter 13 case, your case will take no less than three and no more than five years to be completed, depending on the length of your Chapter 13 Plan.  At the end of the plan, as long as all of the payments have been made and that you have filed your certificate showing that you have completed the Financial Management course, you will receive your Discharge shortly thereafter.

Please keep in mind that, even though you have received your Discharge, until the time that your case is officially “Closed”, you are required to cooperate with the Trustee assigned to your case.

Unfortunately, it can sometimes take quite a while before a case is closed.  I filed a case in December 2008 and the discharge was entered in May 2009.  Unfortunately, due to the backlog of cases filed here in Colorado, it wasn’t closed until early 2011!

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Robert J. Doig, Attorney at Law
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