It can be hard to decide if you should file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which discharges all of your qualifying debts. There are many different things to consider, including the benefits and drawbacks of filing.
One thing holding you back might be not knowing how long the process takes. You could perceive the bankruptcy process to get long and complicated and overwhelming.
Your bankruptcy could be complete in 4 to 6 months
It is true that there are several steps in the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process; however, if you complete each one promptly, your bankruptcy could be complete within 4 to 6 months of filing.
As with anything else in life, the process moves quicker if you stay on top of things and complete each step promptly.
Steps to take before you file
You can speed up the process by getting your documents together before you file. You will typically need to provide bank statements, paystubs and tax returns. Have that information organized and ready to go.
You are also required to take a credit counseling course before you file. This course is usually done online and does not take more than an hour or two.
Steps to take after you file
After you file, a meeting of creditors is scheduled. Your creditors can attend, but most usually do not. The meeting is rather brief, only about 10 minutes, and involves submitting the same documentation you have already gathered for your bankruptcy trustee.
You have 60 days after the meeting of creditors to take one more required course. Again, the course is typically available online. The purpose is to educate you on budgeting and smart financial decisions.
Those are the only steps you are required to complete. There are some waiting periods involved, but none are more than 60 days.
You must show the bankruptcy court your certificate of completion for your debtor education course, and once the deadlines pass, your bankruptcy can be finalized.
Having the guidance of a bankruptcy attorney can increase your chance of getting through the process without a hassle.