The bankruptcy process involves a number of filings and deadlines. For someone who hasn't navigated the bankruptcy courts, it can be overwhelming.
Ask a bankruptcy lawyer if Chapter 13 could help you and how long it can take:
The following timeline illustrates the relevant dates in the typical Chapter 13 bankruptcy case. In the typical Chapter 13, you will follow a debt repayment plan, which can last between 3-5 years.
Four Years Before Your Bankruptcy
You are not eligible for a discharge under Chapter 13 if you received a previous discharge under Chapter 7, 11 or 12 within the prior four-year period. If the prior case was a Chapter 13, you must wait two years before you are eligible for another Chapter 13 discharge.
180 Days Before Your Bankruptcy
If within 180 days before your bankruptcy you had a prior bankruptcy case that was dismissed because you failed to obey court orders or you voluntarily requested a dismissal, then, in some circumstances, you may not file your bankruptcy case until this 180-day period expires.
Also, within the 180-day period before your bankruptcy, you must receive a briefing from a certified credit counseling agency to explain financial management to you, alternatives to bankruptcy, and how to do a budget analysis
90 Days Before Your Bankruptcy
You must be a resident of the state in which you intend to file your bankruptcy case for at least 90 days before the filing. If you have not lived in the state in which you intend to file your case for at least 90 days, you may only file your case in the state where you have resided, or which has been the location of your principal assets, for a majority of the prior 180 days.
Your Case is Filed!
15 Days After Your Case is Filed
Approximately 15 Days After Your Case is Filed
Within approximately 15 days after you file your case, the court will mail the Notice of Commencement of Case to you and to all of the creditors listed in your petition. This notice will inform you of the date set by the court for the meeting of your creditors, and the deadlines for your creditors to object to your case and file their claims against you.
Approximately 30 Days After Your Chapter 13 Repayment Plan is Filed
You must make your first payment under your repayment plan within 30 days after the date that your plan was filed, otherwise your case can be dismissed.
Approximately 6 Weeks (45 days) After Your Case is Filed
30 Days After the Meeting of Your Creditors
The bankruptcy trustee and your creditors have 30 days after the conclusion of the meeting of your creditors to make objections.
45 Days After the Meeting of Your Creditors
The court will have a confirmation hearing during which the bankruptcy trustee will recommend to the judge whether or not your repayment plan should be approved by the court. Your creditors do have the right to object to confirmation of your case, but your attorney will likely have resolved any objections to confirmation before this date.
90 Days After the Meeting of Your Creditors
All of your creditors (except for government entities) must file their proofs of claim (these are documents your creditors submit to the court specifying how much you owe them) within 90 days after the first date set for your creditor meeting if they wish to share in the payments from your case.
180 Days After Your Case is Filed
Government entities that have claims against you (such as the IRS) have 180 days after the filing of your case to submit their proofs of claim.
3-5 Years From the Date of Your First Repayment
Upon your final payment under your Chapter 13 repayment plan, you will receive your formal discharge notice from the court.
Before you receive your discharge, however, you must complete an approved financial management course.
Now that you see how some of the Chapter 13 bankruptcy laws work, you can start to take full advantage of the protections offered. If you still have questions about how your Chapter 13 case might work, you can get answers with a bankruptcy lawyer.
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The above summary is not legal advice. Laws may have changed since our last update. For the latest information on bankruptcy laws, speak to a local bankruptcy lawyer in your state.