One of the first questions clients will ask NC bankruptcy lawyers when they meet is “how long does bankruptcy, Chapter 7 take?” It is a fair question. When you are dealing with overwhelming debt every week that you have to continue to deal with it feels like a year, of course, you want to know how long does bankruptcy, Chapter 7 take.
Unfortunately, there is no one “right answer”. There are a lot of variables when you are dealing with a Chapter 7 case that can affect the time frame, however, if you have the experienced NC bankruptcy lawyers on your side, you can expect to get the quickest resolution possible for your case.
The standard answer for most Chapter 7 Bankruptcy cases is 4-6 months. Without complications or other delays, there is the potential to be done in less than 4 months. Most cases are discharged by month 6 after the date of filing.
The Early Stages of Chapter 7 When Things Can Move Quickly
Chapter 7 starts like all other bankruptcy proceedings with the filing. Our law firm has the expertise to quickly gather your information and get your case filed so you can begin enjoying protection under the automatic stay.
As long as you can provide the necessary information, our team is ready to put your case together and get it filed quickly. As soon as the case is accepted by the clerk of the bankruptcy court, you are protected.
Automatic stay protection means that debt collectors and agencies are no longer allowed to contact you and all debt collection actions against you must stop. This is when you are able to take a deep breath and start planning a better financial future.
In every bankruptcy proceeding, a trustee is assigned to the case. The trustee is in charge of evaluating your financial standing and paying back creditors. The trustee is the person that can make decisions about your case if you do not agree with the decisions than your attorney can request a hearing.
Required Bankruptcy Hearings
You will have to attend one court date that your attorney will attend with you, the 341 meetings, or the meeting of the creditors. This hearing is conducted by the trustee. You will be asked a set of general questions. The meeting also gives your creditors an opportunity to ask questions and be heard.
In most cases, creditors do not attend the meeting, and you are in and out of the meeting quick. The meeting is usually just a formality and is nothing to worry about. Your attorney will be right there to ensure everything moves along smoothly. You can expect to spend about 10 minutes with the trustee.
You can expect the meeting to be scheduled between 20-40 days after you file. Keeping this hearing date is very important to your case.
What Can You Do to Keep the Case Moving Along?
There are a few things that you can do to help move your case along and ensure it does not run into any delays:
- Have all your financial information together and ready to hand over to the attorney during your first meeting. The sooner you hire your NC bankruptcy lawyer and get your paperwork filled out, the sooner you can move forward with your case.
- Be sure to keep your lawyer up to date on any changes to your financial standing. The court has to be notified if there are any changes in your income like on the outside chance you receive an inheritance or another windfall.
- Come to the 341 meetings as required. It is very hard to get these meetings re-scheduled and in only extreme cases will the court agree to set the 341 meeting at a later date. Be sure that you come to the court prepared with identification and any documents that are you are required to bring. Being unprepared or asking to continue the hearing to a later date can tack more than 30 days on to your case.
- As part of the bankruptcy process, you are required to take a credit counseling class. This class can be taken right online. Your lawyer will give you the information that you need to take the class. Do it as soon as possible.
- Choose a law firm like Ivey McClellan, that is experienced and knows how to keep your case moving along without delays and knows what to do in case something does come up.
Finally, one of the best ways to keep your case moving is, to be honest with your attorney and comply with everything that the court or the trustee requires. The more cooperative you are the fewer problems you will experience which of course means the fewer delays you will have to deal with.
What Are Some of the Potential Delays?
Some delays in Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases are out of both yours and your lawyer's hands. For example, if you have non-exempt property that the trustee has to sell to satisfy debts, that can tack on a month or longer to the expected 4-6 month time frame to get the discharge.
If the court or its representative (the Trustee) asks for information and you do not provide it right away, that can create a delay. Once the information is provided, however, you will be right back on track. This can be a short delay of less than a week or two if you move quickly to return the information that is needed.
If there is a court case involved with your bankruptcy that can be a long delay. Until the bankruptcy court case is settled you cannot be discharged from the bankruptcy. It is highly unusual for a creditor to fight in bankruptcy court but it is not unheard of. In this situation, there is very little that your lawyer can do or that you can do. You are both at the mercy of the court calendar and the speed at which the court can move.
One of the best ways to make sure that your Chapter 7 case goes through the process quickly is to hire the team of lawyers that are experienced in Chapter 7 bankruptcy in North Carolina. Contact us today to make your appointment and let's get you on the track to a secure financial future.