What Happens Immediately After A Bankruptcy Case Is Filed?

Everyone typically wants to know how long a bankruptcy case is going to take from start to finish. There is so much uncertainty about the process and about what a client must do to make it work. The transcript from the Video below outlines some of the keys points regarding timing. Please keep in mind that some cases may take longer than others depending upon the complexities of the issues and the diligence of the Trustee assigned to the case.

Jesse Barrientes:
So what happens then after you file, what — first, how long does it take from the time that you file your petition for Chapter 7 to the time that you get discharged. Generally, how long is that?

David Siegel:
Well, a typical case is going to last anywhere from 3 to 4 months from start to finish depending on the timing of the court system.

Jesse Barrientes:
So 90 to 120 days.

David Siegel:
Yeah, basically once a case is filed, the clerk of the US Bankruptcy Court is going to send out a notice of a Meeting of Creditors. This is known as kind of the court date where someone has to appear before a trustee. That takes place approximately 4 to 6 weeks after a case is filed and then after that meeting, there’s about a 60 day waiting period where creditors can file objections or complaints to the discharge. So once that waiting period is over and you have fulfilled all of your requirements, the clerk of the Bankruptcy Court is going to issue a discharge order which is a one-page document that says your case has gone through to completion and that no creditors can bother you on those discharged debts again.

Jesse Barrientes:
But those are only the debts that are actually dischargeable. So if you only child support, I don’t have to do anything specifically because it’s not dischargeable as a matter of course.

David Siegel:
Right, certain debts are nondischargeable per se, other debts are in a gray area where a creditor will have to bring an adversarial complaint such as a credit card company who feels that the purchases were made in contemplation of bankruptcy and thus fraudulent.

Jesse Barrientes:
Does that happen quite often?

David Siegel:
It happens about 2% of the time. It really depends upon the client and whether the client listens to the advice that I give. When someone comes to see me for the first time, I advised them do not use your credit cards again. Some clients listen, some go out and max it out anyway thinking they’ll get away with it. They often do not.

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