Bankruptcy - Timeframe From Start to Finish
By David M Siegel

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a process whereby a debtor eliminates the majority of unsecured debt by filing a petition and appearing at a meeting of creditors. The entire process takes approximately 120 days and could require as little as one court appearance. The typical time-frame is as follows:

1) Filing of the petition with the clerk of the U.S. bankruptcy clerk. A notice is sent to all creditors, the debtor, the debtor's attorney and the panel trustee.

2) The 341 meeting of creditors is held approximately four to six weeks after the date of filing.

3) The debtor waits an additional 60 to 90 days until receiving a discharge order. The discharge may be delayed by the panel trustee.

If everything goes well,
the debtor's case will last approximately 120 days from start to finish. If a creditor objects, there may be a separate case within the bankruptcy case to determine the dischargeablility of the debt. That case is typically not covered in the attorney's representation agreement. That is because the adversarial case is far more difficult than the total bankruptcy filing in a simple case.

Absent an adversarial complaint, the debtor is well on his way to a fresh start within four to five months at the latest. That means that the debtor can start saving money, can obtain auto financing and can start rebuilding. What may have seemed like an impossible option turns out to be a lifesaver for many individuals. Only an experienced bankruptcy attorney can advise you regarding your rights under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.