How Long Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Last?

This year has been tough on everyone. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every single aspect of life, and with no end in sight, it is becoming harder and harder for many Americans to make ends meet. As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, there are now 10.7 million fewer jobs than there were 6 months ago. 


For those that have been struggling to pay off bills and debts during the pandemic, bankruptcy could be a sensible option. Filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a great way to consolidate your debt and get financially back on track. However, if you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, you may have some questions, like how long does a chapter 7 bankruptcy last? 


If you are thinking about filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, here’s everything you need to know about how long the process will last and how long it will affect your credit score. 


How long will the process take?


Once you have decided that a chapter 7 bankruptcy is the right option for you, you will have to file a ‘request for relief.’ This is where your bankruptcy petition will get filed with a bankruptcy clerk. Once filed, you will then have to appear at a 341 meeting of creditors. The 341 meetings of creditors are held twenty and forty days after the filing of your bankruptcy petition. During this meeting, you will have to answer several questions under oath, but this meeting usually only takes 5 minutes. 


After this meeting, the trustee assigned to your chapter 7 bankruptcy filing may ask for any additional information that you forgot to provide in your 341 meeting. After this, you are then required to complete the required financial management program. To be discharged from your debt, you have to ensure that you complete this financial management program within 60 days. 


If everything goes smoothly, you should expect to receive an order discharging your debt in around 60 days after the 341 meetings. 


Situations that might make a chapter 7 case longer


Although a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing usually happens quickly, there are a few factors that can cause your bankruptcy filing to linger on. 

  • The trustee wants more information: the trustee may ask you to supplement your documents, and this will delay your case until you have provided what is requested. 
  • A creditor wants questions answered: a trustee will usually allocate 10 minutes to each bankruptcy filer for the creditor to ask questions. However, if the creditor needs more time to examine your case (this usually happens in more complicated cases), your case will be delayed until the creditor is satisfied that they have all of the information. 


How long will chapter 7 bankruptcy last on your record?


Although the actual process of filing for chapter 7 is relatively quick compared to many other legal processes, it will last on your record for 10 years. 


Because a chapter 7 bankruptcy wipes out all of your debt, it can have a serious negative impact on your credit score and will stay on your credit card for a long period of time as a result.