The length of a bankruptcy case depends on many circumstances, but it mostly depends on which type of bankruptcy you file.
There are two main types of personal bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Generally:
- Chapter 7 "debt discharge" bankruptcy = 3-6 months
- Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan = 3-5 years
Read on for more information about the two types of bankruptcy and how long they typically take.
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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Cases
The average successful Chapter 7 bankruptcy case generally takes between 3 and 6 months before the filer receives his or her bankruptcy discharge.
Once those unsecured debts are discharged, the filer is no longer responsible to pay for them.
But not everyone is allowed to file Chapter 7 .
Potential filers must pass a Chapter 7 means test. so the bankruptcy court can determine whether the filer has enough money to repay their debts through the Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan rather than getting their debts eliminated through Chapter 7.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Cases
Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plans usually take longer than Chapter 7 cases because of the nature of this type of bankruptcy.
Under Chapter 13, the filer is placed on a realistic repayment to pay off their secured debts.
In most cases, the filer is allowed to keep his or her property (such as a home or car) while she or he pays off his or her
The filer is typically given between 3 and 5 years to repay the reduced debts, which are interest-free.
Because Chapter 13 bankruptcy was designed to protect property, it’s often an attractive option for some people looking to save their homes from foreclosure.
At the end of the repayment period, if all payments were paid on time, the filer’s remaining unsecured debts could be discharged.
Deciding Which Bankruptcy Type is Best
For those who have a lot of unsecured debt and are having trouble making ends meet, Chapter 7 bankruptcy may best the best bankruptcy option.
Unsecured debt is considered to be debt that is not guaranteed by property, such as:
- medical bills
- credit card debt
- utility bills
- payday loans, etc.
Remember, not everyone can file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, so you’ll probably want to ask a bankruptcy lawyer whether you may qualify.
If you don’t qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may have other debt-relief options.
For those who own significant equity in a home and are having problems catching up with late bills, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be a better option.
Chapter 13 gives filers time to catch up on old bills at a reduced rate. You may also be able to include debts from unpaid parking tickets in your Chapter 13 filing.
The Bankruptcy Attorney
A bankruptcy attorney can help you determine whether filing bankruptcy could help you.
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