Timeline of the Average Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

As an Arlington TX bankruptcy lawyer, I often tell my clients when discussing bankruptcy that if you have to be involved in a legal proceeding, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is typically the least stressful legal proceeding to be involved with.  In a normal chapter 7 proceeding, you will never need to go before the judge and plead your case, and you will not have to spend hours and preparing for a trial.

You will likely have to take a credit counseling course prior to filing your bankruptcy, and this course can be taken online. Once you take the course, and we review your petition, schedules and statement of financial affairs together, I will file your case.

When the case is filed, a person called the Chapter 7 trustee is appointed.  It is the trustee’s job to determine if you have any non-exempt assets that can be sold by the trustee to pay some or all of your creditors.  Most debtors filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy typically don’t have any non-exempt assets, so the case is considered a no asset case, and the debtor’s debts will be discharged without any distribution to the creditors.  In order to determine whether the debtor has any non-exempt assets, the Chapter 7 trustee holds a meeting of creditors.  This meeting is sometimes called the §341 meeting, or just creditor’s meeting, and is typically set within 30 days of the filing of your bankruptcy, but must be set no earlier than 21 days, and no later than 40 days after the filing of your bankruptcy.  At the meeting of creditors, the trustee determines whether the debtor has any non-exempt assets by asking you a standard set of questions. While creditors may come to the meeting of creditors to ask questions, most of the time no creditor appears at the meeting of creditors.

After the meeting of creditors, your bankruptcy will be set for discharge 60 days from the date of the first setting of the meeting of creditors.  While your case is pending, you may need to take the second of the two required courses called the debtor education course.  This course must be taken prior to the discharge date.  If you do not take the course prior to the discharge date, your bankruptcy can be closed without discharge, and an Arlington TX bankruptcy lawyer will have to file a motion to reopen your case to file the debtor education certificate.  It will cost you more money in attorney’s fees and filing fees if a motion to reopen has to be filed on your behalf, so it is imperative that you take the course before your discharge date.

From start to finish, the typical bankruptcy case takes three to four months to complete. As an Arlington TX bankruptcy lawyer, I have had so many clients tell me after the meeting of creditors just how much less stressful the process was than what they were anticipating.  At the Brandy Austin Law Firm, we strive to make the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process as simple and stress free as possible for all of our Tarrant County clients.  If you are considering filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy, do not hesitate to call us at 817-841-9906 and let us start to ease your financial stress.