How long does it take to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy which will allow you to discharge your debts within 4 to 6 months from the date of filing your bankruptcy petition (assuming there are no creditor objections to the discharge), Chapter 13 bankruptcy will require you to create a three or five year debt repayment plan to restructure your debt payments to repay your creditors. So if you file Chapter 13 bankruptcy it will take you at least three years to receive a discharge.

Filing the bankruptcy petition and initiating the actual bankruptcy, however, can be done immediately. To do this you must simply complete the bankruptcy petition and the appropriate forms and complete the pre-bankruptcy counseling course through an approved credit counseling organization. The course costs approximately $50 and will take 60 to 90 minutes. It can be done over the phone, online or in person.

Steps to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Assuming you have determined filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the right choice for you and you have spoken to a bankruptcy attorney, there are several additional steps you will need to complete to receive a Chapter 13 bankruptcy discharge. The time it takes for you to complete the petition and submit it to the court will determine when the process will begin. Below we will discuss each step.

  • Complete the bankruptcy petition and associated schedules, pay fees and submit the forms to the appropriate bankruptcy court. Filing the petition will initiate an automatic stay.
  • The court will appoint a trustee to administer your case and send you a Notice of Appointment of Trustee.
  • All of your creditors will be notified that you have filed bankruptcy and they will be given general information about your case: the date of the creditors meeting, the date of the confirmation hearing, information about your Chapter 13 debt repayment plan and information about filing any creditor objections to the discharge of your debts.
  • Creditors may file any objections they have to your debt repayment plan.
  • If your bankruptcy repayment plan is approved you will start making debt payments to the appointed trustee.
  • You must attend the meeting of the creditors.
  • You or your bankruptcy lawyer will attend the confirmation hearing. The court will either approve your plan, settle issues raised by creditors who object to the plan's approval or reject the plan.
  • Assuming your plan is approved, the trustee will send you information periodically about your debt payments, including the amount you have paid and the amount owed (this process will continue for the duration of your plan).
  • You must complete a personal management course and submit the certificate to the court (Form 23) prior to the bankruptcy discharge.
  • The court schedules a discharge hearing and grants you a Chapter 13 bankruptcy discharge.

So how long does it take to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy? It will take several weeks to take the credit counseling course and submit the appropriate Chapter 13 bankruptcy forms to the court, but it will take three or five years to complete the bankruptcy repayment plan and receive a Chapter 13 bankruptcy discharge.

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