How long does a personal bankruptcy take to complete?

On Behalf of | May 14, 2024 | Personal Bankruptcy |

For many people, the decision to file for personal bankruptcy is made in response to a financial emergency. Despite dealing with rising levels of debt or an increasingly restrictive budget, they continue to try to fulfill their obligations each month. They then receive service from a creditor who intends to sue them for missed payments or realize they are on the brink of foreclosure. Those who are at risk of losing property often need immediate financial assistance, and bankruptcy is the best solution for the challenges that they face.

Filers pursuing bankruptcy have likely struggled with challenging financial circumstances for months by the time a lawsuit or foreclosure is a realistic concern. They may be eager to complete the bankruptcy process as quickly as possible so that they can start rebuilding financially. How long does the bankruptcy process typically take?

Bankruptcy can last for years

The overall duration of the bankruptcy process largely depends on the type of bankruptcy that someone files. Most people filing bankruptcy as an individual or with a spouse choose between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the fastest option available. Depending on the complexity of someone’s case and the number of other bankruptcies in the local courts, someone can discharge their debts in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in as little as four to six months.

A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy typically requires years to complete. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy proceedings involve negotiating and completing a multi-year repayment plan. The filer typically needs to make between three and five years of monthly payments through the trustee appointed by the courts before they are eligible for a discharge of their debts. The duration of the repayment plan directly influences the duration of the bankruptcy process. For some people, it may take more than five years to finally receive their discharge in a Chapter 13 case.

Thankfully, certain elements of bankruptcy protection are available immediately when an individual files their documents with the courts. The automatic stay protecting them from collection activity takes effect the same day that they file.

Although filing for personal bankruptcy may require patience and commitment, it can help people overcome otherwise impossible levels of personal debt. The sooner someone struggling financially submits the necessary paperwork to the courts, the sooner they can secure protection from aggressive creditor efforts.


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