Chapter 7 Process Timeline & FAQ

Chapter 7 Process Timeline & FAQ

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Timeline

Prior to Filing a Bankruptcy Case

In the last 8 years did you:

~~ File for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and receive a discharge?

If it has been less than 8 years ago then you will be ineligible to receive another discharge at this time. (§727)

~~ File for a Chapter 12 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the last six years and receive a discharge?

If you paid at least 70% of your allowed unsecured claims, your plan was proposed in good faith, and you made your best effort – you generally will be eligible for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge at this time. (§727)

In the last 3 years did you:

~~ Have unpaid taxes?

Income tax filings/returns due within 3 years prior to your bankruptcy case being filed are not discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The due date includes any extensions if the 3 year period has been passed. (§523; §507)

In the last 2 years did you:

~~ File tax returns late?

Tax returns that are filed late or filed 2 years before a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case are not discharged. (§727; §523)

~~ Transfer any property or interest in property?

The Trustee may recover property the debtor transferred and avoid obligations the debtor incurred which were done within 2 years before the bankruptcy, if the transfer or obligation were undertaken with the intent to hinder, delay, or defraud any entity, or when the debtor was insolvent. (§548)

In the last year did you:

~~ Have a prior bankruptcy case dismissed?

The Automatic Stay will be terminated within 30 days unless you are able to demonstrate that your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case was filed in good faith. If more than 1 bankruptcy case was dismissed in the past year, no stay will go into effect. (§362)

~~ Try to delay or defraud your creditors by making any transfers, hiding, or destroying your property?

Your discharge may be denied and creditors may be allowed to recover transferred property. (§727)

~~ Pay back one of your creditors that is considered an insider, that is, a relative or close business associate?

These types of payments are unlawful. The Trustee may recover the monies paid and redistribute them to your other creditors. (§547)

In the last 180 days did you:

~~ Have your bankruptcy case dismissed either at your request and/or due to your failure to obey court orders?

You must wait until 180 days have expired before you are able to file again. (§109)

~~ Attend a Credit Counseling course?

You must receive a Credit Counseling Briefing from a certified credit counseling agency before your bankruptcy may be filed. (§521)

In the last 90 days did you:

~~ Pay back over $600 to any of your creditors?

These types of payments are unlawful. The Trustee may recover the monies paid and redistribute them to your other creditors. (§547)

~~ Incur new credit of $500 or more for luxury goods or services?

This debt is considered non-dischargeable. (§523)

~~ Live as a resident of the state in which you intend to file your bankruptcy?

If not, you may only file your bankruptcy case in the state in which you have resided or kept your principal assets for the majority of the prior 180 days. (28 USC §1408)

In the last 70 days did you:

~~ Obtain a cash advance in the amount of $750 or more?

This debt is considered non-dischargeable. (§523)

Bankruptcy case filed:

Your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case begins once a Petition is filed with the Bankruptcy Court. A husband and wife may file a joint Petition. (§301; §302) The Schedules listing assets, creditors, income, expenses, executory contracts, leases, and co-debtors are customarily filed along with the Petition. The Declaration Regarding Payment Advices and Credit Counseling Certificate are also usually filed along with the Petition. The filing fee is paid at the time of filing.

After Filing Bankruptcy:


~~ Automatic Stay Order prohibits your creditors from sending you letters, calling you, or taking any additional collection and/or legal action against you. Garnishments on bank accounts and paychecks must stop. (§362)

~~ Bankruptcy Trustee will be assigned to your bankruptcy case.

~~ Schedule your Debtor Education Course.

Approximately 15 days after bankruptcy case filing:

~~ The Bankruptcy Clerk will mail you and your creditors the Notice of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case, Meeting of Creditors, & Deadlines, which provides the date set for your meeting of creditors and other important deadlines.

Within 30 days of bankruptcy case filing:

~~ Statement of Intention must be filed, informing the court if you plan to keep any collateral property or if you intend to submit it to your creditors. (§521) This Statement of Intention is customarily filed along with the Petition.

7 days before 341 Meeting:

~~ Your most recent tax return, paystubs from the 60 days prior to filing, and bank statements from the date of filing are due to the Trustee 7 days before the date first set for the 341 meeting. (§521)

Approximately 6 weeks after bankruptcy case filing:

~~Your Meeting of Creditors, often referred to at a 341 meeting, will be held. (§341)

30 days after your 341 Meeting:

~~Deadline for the Bankruptcy Trustee or your creditors to object to your exemption claims.

~~You must perform your intentions as stated in the Statement of Intentions. You will need to surrender the property, reaffirm the debt, or redeem for the allowed secured claim. (§521)

60 days after 341 Meeting:

~~ You must have completed your debtor education course and filed a certificate of completion within 45 days of the first date set for the 341 meeting.

60 days after your 341 Meeting:

~~Creditors must object to discharge of debts that were obtained by false pretenses, a false representation, or actual fraud; debt from fraud or defalcation while acting in a fiduciary capacity, embezzlement or larceny; and debt for willful and malicious injury. This deadline applies to objections to discharge of: Consumer debts owed to a single creditor of more than $500 for luxury goods or services obtained within 90 days before a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. (§523) Creditors must also object within 60 days of the original 341 date for debts involving misconduct including transfer, destruction or concealment of property; concealment, destruction, falsification or failure to keep financial records; making false statements; withholding information; failing to explain losses; failure to respond to material questions; having received a discharge in a prior bankruptcy case filed within the last 6 years. (§727)

~~Trustee must determine if you bankruptcy case should be dismissed due to abuse or debts discharged.

~~ Reaffirmation agreements, if relevant, must be filed with the court.

More than 60 days after 341 Meeting:

~~Your discharge will be filed by the Bankruptcy Clerks. The discharge is not absolute or final. The Trustee can ask that the discharge be set aside if the debtor does not turn over non-exempt property, if the debtor fails to perform other duties, or if there were other matters pending which would result in the denial of the discharge.

90 days after 341 meeting:

~~All creditors (except for government entities) must file their proofs of claim if they wish to share in the payments from your bankruptcy case if any assets are available for liquidation.

180 days after bankruptcy case filed:

~~Government agencies or units must file a proof of claim within 180 days of your bankruptcy case filing.

~~You no longer risk losing property you acquire or become entitled to after your bankruptcy case is filed as a result of inheritance, bequest, devise, property settlements involving divorce, or beneficiary on life insurance. The above-mentioned if received after your bankruptcy case is filed is at risk of being liquidated by the Trustee if received within 180 days of filing. (§541)

Final Decree will be entered by the Court officially closing the bankruptcy case. The Final Decree is often received near the time of the Discharge if your bankruptcy case is a no-asset bankruptcy case. If the Trustee is liquidating non-exempt assets, the bankruptcy case will remain open to allow the Trustee to distribute the funds to creditors and file a final report.