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How Long Does Bankruptcy Take from Beginning to End?

Pocket watch next to notebook symbolizes the duration of bankruptcy process

The amount of time a bankruptcy case takes from beginning to end is dependent on which chapter of bankruptcy you’ve filed for, and your unique circumstances that can either hasten or delay proceedings. Generally, Chapter 7 bankruptcy takes less time than Chapter 13 bankruptcies, which can be quite complex. Business owners filing for Chapter 11 will also undergo a fairly complex process, but usually tie up their lose ends faster than Chapter 13 cases.

Chapter 7

People with limited income and high debt usually file Chapter 7. It’s often referred to as a liquidation bankruptcy because your assets are liquidated in this process. The average time to completion is four to six months.

You begin the process by giving the bankruptcy court a petition that lists your debts, assets, and the information on your creditors. A meeting with a bankruptcy trustee will follow shortly after the petition is filed. Baring any creditor objections or other issues, the process can wrap up in just a few months, but can take as long as six months.

The time it takes to bring the case to a close is also impacted by where you live and the unique circumstances of your situation. For instance, if the trustee needs more information, you can expect a delay in your case until that information is provided. This might entail rescheduling hearings.

Chapter 13

There are some similarities between the Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 process. For instance, just like in Chapter 7, a Chapter 13 filer will offer a detailed petition to the court. However, an attorney will often have to assist drafting these documents. Once the petition is filed, the filer will meet with a bankruptcy trustee and work on a plan to reorganize debt payment. This is a process that will often involve consolidating debts into a payment schedule that is more reasonable for the filer, and is often based on disposable monthly income.

While there is a little more detail involved in the planning of Chapter 13 than there is in Chapter 7, the lengthiest aspect of this type of bankruptcy is in the time it takes to pay down the debt, which is between three and five years.

One way to shorten the duration of a Chapter 13 filing is to turn over collateral. For instance, some filers will decide after making payment arrangements that they want to turn over a home or cars. This is usually in response to having a difficult time with the regular payments. AS long as the filer meets other bankruptcy law requirements, turning over collateral can shorten the duration of the process.

Chapter 11

Businesses that are struggling to keep their doors open often need a little time to get back on their feet, which is what Chapter 11 can offer. (Some individuals will also find this to be the most suitable arrangement for their situation) Most Chapter 11 cases will begin as they do for Chapter 7 – filing a detailed petition. While Chapter 7 goes fairly quickly, sometimes not even requiring the filer to see the inside of a courtroom, Chapter 11 involves multiple hearings where principals will testify, and this is why Chapter 11 can be drawn out for a full year.

Work with an Attorney

Obviously, there are many more issues involving bankruptcy than we can address here. Szabo Law Group specializes in bankruptcies of all types, and we can go over your situation and walk you through every step of the way. Contact us today and we’ll talk about where to begin with your case.

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Szabo Law Group, P.A. provides personal and small business bankruptcy, foreclosure and immigration representation to clients throughout Broward County including, but not limited to Coconut Creek, Coral Springs, Dania, Davie, Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Margate, Plantation, Pompano Beach, Sunrise, Tamarac and Weston.
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