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How long do bankruptcy cases take?

February 11, 2010


The length of a bankruptcy case depends primarily on which type of bankruptcy you file: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.

The average Chapter 7 bankruptcy case takes between 3 and 6 months before the debtor receives their bankruptcy discharge. Because a discharge of debts is the goal of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy case, from the debtor’s perspective, is essentially over once the discharge is obtained.

Note that even though it takes 3 to 6 months to obtain a discharge, an automatic stay that protects you from further debt collection efforts goes into place immediately after you file for bankruptcy.

By their nature, Chapter 13 bankruptcies take longer than Chapter 7 bankruptcies. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a repayment plan. Under the repayment plan, the debtor is given a set amount of time – between 3 and 5 years – to repay the reduced debts. Once the repayment plan is successfully completed, the debtor’s remaining debts can be discharged.


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