The Bankruptcy Timeline
Guiding You Through the Bankruptcy Process Every Step of the Way
The bankruptcy process can be intimidating and overwhelming. However, with the help of an experienced bankruptcy lawyer, you can effectively deal with your debt through Chapter 7, Chapter 11, or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. By learning more about the steps you will encounter in bankruptcy and the general timeline, you can feel more confident going forward.
At Allmand Law Firm, PLLC, our Dallas bankruptcy lawyers strive to help our clients through the bankruptcy process as efficiently and successfully as possible. While no two bankruptcy cases are alike, a general timeline does apply in most cases regardless of what Chapter you file under.
What You Need to Know Before Filing for Bankruptcy
The bankruptcy process can be complex; however, by being more prepared prior to filing, you can more easily achieve success. When you come to the initial meeting with your bankruptcy lawyer, you should have with you:
- A recent bill from each of your creditors,
- Any collection letters you’ve received,
- All court documents you’ve been served,
- Notices of utility shut off, vehicle or property repossession, or foreclosure on your home,
- Pay stubs for the last six months to one year,
- Tax return documents for the last two years, and
- Your drivers’ license and social security card.
Before filing bankruptcy, you should also take a pre-filing credit counseling course with an approved agency. This step must be completed within 180 days of filing your bankruptcy petition with the court.
When you meet with your lawyer, they will walk you through the bankruptcy process. They will assess your eligibility to file bankruptcy and which type is best for you. For example, in some locations, you must have been a resident of the state for a certain amount of time prior to filing bankruptcy. Your attorney can make sure you can file where you live.
Here’s What You Should Know About How Bankruptcy Cases Typically Progress:
Eligibility Requirements With Prior Cases
If you have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy before and are considering filing a new case, you will have to wait until at least eight years have passed since the date of your prior filing. If you previously filed under Chapter 13 or Chapter 11 within the last six years, you will only be eligible to file under Chapter 7 if you have paid at least 70 percent of your unsecured debt from your previous case.
All consumers are required to complete credit counseling within 180 days prior to filing for bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA).
Beginning the Process
The bankruptcy process formally begins when you file a petition with the bankruptcy court. Once you have filed, the court will issue an automatic stay. This will stop all collection actions against you by creditors while your case is pending.
Meeting of Creditors
After you have filed your bankruptcy petition, you will be required to attend a mandatory meeting of creditors within 60 days. During this meeting, you will have to answer questions under oath about your income, assets, liabilities, and expenses. Your case will then progress based on your unique financial situation and the Chapter you filed under.
Receiving a Discharge
Each case is different. There is therefore no set time for how long it will take for a filer to receive a discharge. Generally, however, Chapter 7 filings may be resolved in as little as four to six months. Conversely, Chapter 11 or 13 filings may be resolved within three to five years after completing a repayment schedule.
What to Do After Filing for Bankruptcy
Although leading up to filing for bankruptcy you will be extremely stressed, the bankruptcy process continues to be difficult after filing. Your attorney can help you with the following steps after filing for bankruptcy:
- Filing specific information about your assets, debts, income, expenses, and liabilities with the bankruptcy court within 15 days after you file your bankruptcy petition.
- Filing a repayment schedule if you filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
- Making your first payment according to your Chapter 13 repayment schedule within 30 days of filing your bankruptcy case.
- Filing a document regarding debts you would like to reaffirm to retain the property for a Chapter 7 case.
- Holding a 341 meeting of the creditors within 45 days of filing for bankruptcy.
- Taking a two-hour bankruptcy education course prior to discharge of your debts.
Every bankruptcy is different. However, most Chapter 7 cases are discharged between four and six months after filing. Most Chapter 23 cases take three to five years to complete the repayment schedule. A skilled attorney can help you through the bankruptcy process from start to finish.
Contact Us for an Assessment of Your Case
As the largest bankruptcy filing firm in Texas with more than 20 years of experience, Allmand Law Firm, PLLC has handled thousands of bankruptcy cases in Dallas, Fort Worth, and the Mid Cities. If you are struggling with debt and are considering bankruptcy, turn to our firm for expert assistance. Our firm’s founder, Reed Allmand, is Board Certified in Bankruptcy by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, so you can be confident that we have the knowledge and resources to help you regain your financial freedom. Our clients are our top priority, which is why we offer free case evaluations to assess your case and recommend a solution that works best for you.
To talk about your case, filing options, and approximate timeline for your unique situation, please fill out an online contact form and our Dallas bankruptcy lawyers will be in touch with you promptly.