How long does it take to declare bankruptcy?

When people start considering bankruptcy, they usually are in dire financial straits. Some people don’t even think about bankruptcy until they get served with a lawsuit by one of their credit card companies or face repossession of their vehicle.

Once people know that they must file bankruptcy, getting relief quickly is often a major priority. How long does it take for you to file bankruptcy?

How long it takes depends on how you file

The length of time between when you decide to file for bankruptcy and when you finally receive your discharge will vary depending on certain factors. You will likely have to take credit counseling classes, allow time for creditor meetings and possibly even complete a repayment plan.

The exact length of time it takes to go from deciding to file bankruptcy to receiving your discharge can vary by years from case to case.

Some bankruptcy protection is available the day that you file

To start bankruptcy proceedings, you must file a petition with the court. After you file the petition, there will then be a creditor meeting, the potential appointment of a trustee and then eventually a court hearing.

You don’t have to wait till all of that is done to benefit from filing bankruptcy. You will have an automatic stay that takes effect as soon as the courts accept your petition. An automatic stay temporarily halts collection activity. Creditors can no longer call you, and pending lawsuits can get dismissed.

How long does it take to receive a discharge?

In a Chapter 7 filing, you could receive a discharge as soon as 60 days after the first creditor meeting. In most cases, a final hearing and discharge for a Chapter 7 filing happens about four months after the individual filed their first petition for bankruptcy relief.

In a Chapter 13 filing, the length of time between filing a petition and securing a discharge is longer. After all, there will be a repayment plan that lasts for between three and five years. In most cases, it will be at least four years from the date of filing before someone seeking Chapter 13 bankruptcy receives their discharge.

The sooner you decide what form of bankruptcy is right for you, the sooner you can seek an automatic stay and start the process of securing your discharge.