Bankruptcy timelines depend on a variety of factors, such as the particular bankruptcy court, the bankruptcy trustee, the judge, the debts and assets of the debtor and the number of filings before the court. Below are some general guidelines to consider for people thinking about bankruptcy. Actual timelines will vary from individual to individual. A Maryland bankruptcy lawyer can help you assess your bankruptcy needs and provide guidance as to how a bankruptcy would proceed for you.
Important Dates Prior to Filing for Bankruptcy
There are several dates and timelines to keep in mind before you file for bankruptcy, including the following:
- You cannot discharge debt under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy if you filed a Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy within the past eight years.
- If you filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy within the past six years, you also cannot discharge debt by filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
- If overdue taxes are a reason you are considering bankruptcy, remember that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy will not discharge them if you owed the taxes within the past three years.
- Your bankruptcy trustee can recoup any property that you transferred or refuse to discharge any debt that you took on within two years of your bankruptcy filing. The point of this is to discourage people from taking advantage of filing for bankruptcy by hiding money owed to creditors or by taking on more debt to acquire new items.
Timelines Once You File for Bankruptcy
Below is a general timeline for Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcies, which provides a rough idea of what to expect once you file for bankruptcy:
- The first step in filing for bankruptcy is filing the petition, which includes the filing fee and information about creditors.
- 15 days after filing the petition, the debtor must file lists (also called schedules) of assets and liabilities, income, expenses and other items pertaining to the debtor’s financial situation.
- Around the same time that the schedules are due, a person filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy must file his or her proposed repayment plan.
- A meeting of creditors (also called a 341 meeting) will occur about 20 to 40 days after the filing of a Chapter 7 petition; it will occur 20 to 50 days after the filing of a Chapter 13 one.
- About 30 days after a meeting of creditors for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, creditors or the bankruptcy trustee must have filed any objections to any property that the debtor claims is exempt.
- About 60 days after a meeting of creditors for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, creditors must have filed any objections they have to discharging particular debt of the filer.
- Under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy court will usually discharge the debtor’s eligible debts within six months of the filing of the petition.
- Under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor has three to five years to complete his or her payment plan. At the end of the payment plan, the court will discharge eligible debts.