Timeline of a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case

Discharge DebtA Chapter 7 bankruptcy case begins with hiring a qualified bankruptcy lawyer.  Bankruptcy is a specialized type of law, so it is important to find an attorney with experience not only with bankruptcy law but practicing in the district in which your case will be filed.  Each district has its own set of local rules which can greatly affect a case, which is why you need local counsel with experience in practicing bankruptcy law in your district.

Once you hire an attorney you will need to fill out a workbook and provide documents to him.  The workbook helps your lawyer prepare the documents to be filed in your case.  It is important that this information be accurate and that the workbook be filled out completely.  After the workbook is completed you will meet with an attorney to review and sign the documents, after which they are filed with the court.

After filing the bankruptcy petition your case is scheduled for a 341 meeting of creditors.  You will receive notice of this meeting about 7 to 10 days after your case is filed.  It usually takes place about 30 to 45 days after the date the petition is filed.  Your attorney will attend the 341 meeting with you.  After the meeting you have to wait sixty days to allow your creditors to review the case and decide whether or not to object to discharge.

At the end of the sixty days, assuming no party has objected to discharge, a bankruptcy judge will sign the discharge order.  If there are no assets available for liquidation by the trustee then the case is closed a few weeks later.  If there are assets that can be liquidated in order to provide payment to the creditors then the case may stay open for up to two years while the trustee disburses the proceeds to the creditors.