How Long Does it Take for Bankruptcy to Discharge?

It depends upon which type of bankruptcy you file. For Chapter 7 bankruptcy, debts are discharged about 120 days after filing. For Chapter 13 bankruptcy, eligible debts are discharged once you complete your payment plan – either in three years or in five years.

Given that the goal of bankruptcy is to get a financial fresh start, it makes sense to wonder when that fresh start will occur.

What is a Bankruptcy Discharge?

A discharge releases you from your obligation to repay the debts covered by your bankruptcy proceedings. This means that the creditor or debt collector can no longer attempt to collect the debt, and that they are prohibited from suing you in court to obtain a judgment against you.

How Long Does it Take for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy to Discharge?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a process that liquidates your assets and repays your creditors to the extent possible. Once you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a meeting of creditors is scheduled. That meeting usually occurs between 21 and 40 days after you file, but must be held within 60 days of the date you filed for bankruptcy. Ten days after that, your bankruptcy trustee reports to the court. The trustee then liquidates your property and pays your creditors. Unless a creditor files a complaint with the court objecting to the discharge, the bankruptcy court will enter a discharge order within two to three months of the creditors’ meeting. In this best case scenario, it takes between 81 days and 150 days for a discharge to occur. If a creditor objects to discharge or if your petition is denied or converted to Chapter 13, this timeline can be delayed.

How Long Does it Take for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy to Discharge?

Chapter 13 bankruptcies have a longer timeline because they involve payment plans. Similar to Chapter 7, a meeting of the creditors must be held within 60 days of filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Regular creditors have 90 days to file claims in your case and government creditors have 180 days. However, you have to file a repayment plan within two weeks of filing your Chapter 13 petition and you must begin making payments within 30 days of filing – even though the repayment plan won’t have been approved. The judge will rule on your repayment plan no later than 45 days after the meeting of creditors.

The length of your payment plan will be either three years – if your income is at or below your state’s median for a family of your size – or five years, if your income exceeds the median. If you make all of your payments in accordance with your repayment plan, then the balances of the debts covered by the plan will be discharged. You’ll no longer be responsible for paying those debts, and the creditors will be prohibited from trying to collect them or attempting to get a legal judgment against you.

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