The timeline for a typical bankruptcy case is as follows. I will talk mostly about Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, because business bankruptcies in Chapter 11 vary considerably.
Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases begin as follows. Prior to filing a case, one must complete the Pre Filing Counseling, which takes from 30 to 60 minutes. Most people complete the Counseling online, but some opt to do it by telephone. In any event, the Counseling must be done at some point in the 6 month period prior filing the case. One you thoroughly read over the bankruptcy petition, schedules and statements, your case can be filed and you will be assigned a case number. Moreover, the automatic stay of the bankruptcy will go immediately into effect, so that you are protected from any collections activity.
Generally, within about 3 or 4 days, the Court will schedule the 341 Meeting of Creditors date and will mail the meeting notice to everyone associated with the case. That meeting will take place approximately 30 to 45 days after the case filing date. At the meeting, debtors are required to answer questions under oath from the Chapter 7 Trustee about their debts and property.
Following the meeting, in most cases, the Trustee will file a report with the Bankruptcy Court which indicates that the Trustee has completed his or her review of the case and that there are no assets to administer. Provided that the debtor has completed his or her Financial Management (aka Financial Education) course within 60 days of the Meeting of Creditors date, then the Court may issue a discharge order, which officially wipes out the debts. That course, by the way, takes approximately two hours and is usually completed online, although there may be an in-person course in your area. In any event, the discharge order and final report, both of which formally close out the case, are entered at some point after a 60-day period has expired after the Meeting of Creditors.
Chapter 13 cases are a bit different, because they run for 3 to 5 years. Importantly, a Chapter 13 debtor must begin making his or her Chapter 13 plan payment within the first 30 days of the case. Chapter 13 procedures vary considerably from state to state, however, the Meetings of Creditors will usually be conducted within 30 to 45 days after filing date, but in most jurisdictions, the Chapter 13 plans won’t be confirmed on a final basis until approximately 5 months following the original filing date of the case. This is done so that creditors are permitted a reasonable period of time in which to file their own paperwork (known as proofs of claim). That period of time is usually about 5 months.
In any event, once the Chapter 13 plan is confirmed, then payments are made until the required Chapter 13 plan base (total amount of money required to be paid during the 3 to 5 year period) is met. At some point prior to the end of the case, one must complete the Financial Management course as well, and there must be filed a certificate of eligibility for Chapter 13. The Chapter 13 Trustee will review the payment history in the case to ensure that the necessary claims have been paid to comply with the confirmed plan, but after that review is done, then the Court will issue the discharge order as well.
If you have particular questions that are more detailed, please let me know.
Here are more B’s in the Bankruptcy Alphabet:
Bad Faith Filing by Miami Bankruptcy Attorney Dorota Trzeciecka;
Bailout by Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney Monica D. Shepard;
Bank Account Levy by Philadelphia Bankruptcy Attorney Raymond Kempinski;
Bank Tips by Wisconsin Bankruptcy Attorney Bret Nason;
Bankruptcy by Taylor Michigan Bankruptcy Attorney Christopher McAvoy;
Bankruptcy Estate by Metro Richmond Consumer and Bankruptcy Attorney Mitchell Goldstein;
Bankruptcy Mill by Chicago Bankruptcy Attorney Kyle Lindsey;
BPPs by Colorado Springs Bankruptcy Attorney Bob Doig;
Bankruptcy Petition Preparers by Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorney Christine Wilton;
Bar Date by Ormond Beach Florida Bankruptcy Attorney Lewis Roberts;
Best Interests of Creditors by Honolulu Bankruptcy Attorney Stuart Ing;
Beware of these Credit Card Offers by Marin County Bankruptcy Attorney Catherine Eranthe;
Borrow by San Francisco Bankruptcy Attorney Jeena Cho;
Business Bankruptcy for Individuals by Philadelphia Suburban Bankruptcy Attorney Chris Carr;
Business Bankruptcy by Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorney Mark J. Markus;
Businesses and Business Debt by Newnan Georgia Bankruptcy Attorney Rick Palmer and
Buy Low and Sell High by Cleveland Area Bankruptcy Attorney Bill Balena