From the time you file your Chapter 7 case, it usually takes between 4 and 6 months to complete your case. Here is the breakdown on what happens. First, you obviously have to obtain your Pre-Bankruptcy Counseling; that takes you just 45 minutes online or over the phone. You then review and sign your bankruptcy petition and schedules with your attorney, and your case is then filed with the Bankruptcy Court.
Currently, in Western Pennsylvania, the Bankruptcy Court will schedule your Meeting of Creditors (also known as your 341 Meeting) approximately 30 to 45 days after your case has been filed. Provided that your meeting goes smoothly and the Trustee is satisfied with your responses to the questions asked, then the Trustee will file a report with the Bankruptcy Court that no further action be taken.
The Trustee, the U.S. Trustee and your creditors will only have 60 days from the time of your Meeting of Creditors to file objections to your case. After the 60th day, no one can oppose your case. At that point, the Bankruptcy Court will issue your Discharge Order, the court order that wipes out your debts. If you become frustrated with the fact that the Court hasn’t issued your Discharge Order, remember that the Court is usually logjammed with cases and has a lot to do. Generally, it will take about a month longer for your Discharge to be granted. In other words, it will be about 90 days from your Meeting of Creditors date for your Discharge Order to be granted.
The Trustee or the U.S. Trustee are permitted to file a Motion to Dismiss your case in the event that they later discover that you’ve committed bankruptcy fraud. For example, if they discover that you have lied on your bankruptcy petition or schedules, then your entire case could be dismissed as if you never filed. There is no deadline for the Trustee to file such a Motion to Dismiss. Therefore, it’s important to think carefully about any assets that you might have.