When you file for bankruptcy, there is a general timeline that every case follows. Our Chicago bankruptcy lawyer has put together a timeline to explain what you can expect. Attorney Joseph P. Doyle has assisted many people in the Chicago area to get a fresh financial start, and offers this information to assist you. Understanding the process itself, can give you confidence that this is the right action for you to take if you are struggling with debt that you cannot pay.
Six Months Prior to Filing
In 2005, the changes in bankruptcy laws legally required that you have credit counseling within 180 days of filing for bankruptcy protection. You must have been a resident in the area in which you file for at least 180 days as well.
3 Months Prior to Filing
Any luxury purchases made within 90 days of filing is not be eligible for discharge, as well as cash advances more than $750 within 90 days of filing. It is important that you understand that making purchases and then filing could be a grave error. Don't buy anything, and avoid transferring any of your property or assets to another person you owe - that person may be forced to pay it back, as it will be considered to have been a preferential treatment for that creditor, whether a family member, friend, employer or other individual.
Your Case Is Filed with the Bankruptcy Court
Once your case is filed with the court, and all documents submitted, the bankruptcy process has begun. At this point, an "automatic stay" is issued by the court, and all of your creditors are informed to halt any collection actions. Creditors are not allowed to contact you by phone, letter or other means.
30 Days After Filing with the Court
About 30 days after filing, the first meeting is held, called a Meeting of Creditors, or a 341 Meeting. You are required to attend this hearing, and will be under oath to answer questions from the court, and from any creditors that appear. In most cases, no creditors appear at this hearing, and only the court may ask you specific questions about your debt situation. The creditors have one more chance to try to recover the money you owe, but ordinarily they don't.
60 Days After Filing Bankruptcy
Your creditors have 30 days in which to object to the discharge of a debt. They could also object to your exemptions (the property you are allowed to keep as listed in one of the schedules submitted to the court).
90 Days After Filing
You may be required to complete a financial course within 90 days of filing for bankruptcy. This training is provided by an accredited agency that teaches you the basics of budgeting so that you are able to avoid financial problems in the future. You are required to submit a form proving that you completed the financial education class. If you don't complete this educational course, you may not have your debts discharged, so it is an urgent matter that you do so if you hope to gain the advantages of having your debt discharged.
14 - 16 weeks After Filing
Your debt is discharged, officially. and all creditors informed by the court of the discharge. They will never contact you again to try to get you to pay - the debt is gone. In some cases, this could occur a month or so later, particularly if a creditor has filed an objection that must be sorted out before the bankruptcy can proceed, but this is not common in personal bankruptcy cases.
Contact us for more information about the bankruptcy timeline, and what you could expect in your case, whether as an individual or filing jointly with your spouse. We can advise you about all the details, and guide you through the process.