Chapter 7 bankruptcy can take six months to complete after the initial filing is made, and sometimes certain delays cause the process to last even longer. In the vast majority of cases that are properly handled, though, the process lasts about three months. After this time, the case may be completed and you’ll be free to start rebuilding your credit. Here’s an overview of the process.

Pre-Filing Preparations

bankruptcy attorneySo long as you aren’t doing anything illegal, such as transferring, hiding or destroying assets in an illegal manner, the pre-filing preparations for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy are fairly easy. You simply need to make sure you don’t pay back any creditors within a 90-day window of filing because the court will deem these payments unlawful and distribute them among all your creditors. (If you are found guilty of illegally transferring, hiding or destroying assets within a year of filing, your bankruptcy filing can be denied.)

Within a year to three months before you want to file is also the time you’ll want to talk with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney. To speak with an attorney who specializes in these matters, contact us at

Time-of-Filing Court Actions

When you file, the court will immediately take several actions. It’ll issue an automatic stay petition that prevents creditors from contacting you for collections, and you’ll receive a notice in the mail listing all of the creditors included in your petition. There will also be a trustee assigned to your case.

Post-Filing Processes

After you file, there are several important deadlines that keep the process moving along:

  • 15 days after filing, you must have submitted all your financial information
  • 15 days after filing, the court will send notices to the creditors in your petition
  • 30 days after filing, you must have submitted a Statement of Intention that explains whether you intend to surrender or keep your property
  • Two to five weeks after filing, you must submit a copy of your most recent tax return
  • Three to six weeks after filing, a meeting of your creditors will take place
  • 90 days after filing, by now your creditors and trustee will have issued any objections they have

This marks the conclusion of the process for most people filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but government agencies technically have up to 180 days after you file to place claims against you. If objections are raised during the process, there could be delays.