The decision to file bankruptcy is a weighty one. And if you’re unsure how it works, starting the process could be both intimidating and overwhelming. So how long does it take to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy? And what can you expect during the timeline?
What Happens Before Filing?
Once you’ve decided to move forward, you will need to work with your attorney to prepare necessary paperwork and review your financial documents.
Prior to filing, you will need to complete a credit counseling program. Once you’ve completed the counseling, you’ll receive a certificate to attach to your bankruptcy petition.
What Happens During the Filing Process?
File Petitions and Other Paperwork
Your attorney will file a substantial amount of paperwork with the bankruptcy court. This includes the petition and forms describing your assets and liabilities, income and expenses, and contractual obligations and leases. Obviously, completing and submitting these documents will take some time. This can take a few weeks or a few months, depending on the size and complexity of your assets and debts.
Once you file Chapter 13, you will be granted an “automatic stay”. This stops creditors from collecting against you while your bankruptcy is in process. The automatic stay will provide you the relief you need from creditors’ collection actions against you.
Appointment of Trustee
Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy will also trigger the court to appoint a trustee to your case. The trustee will review your bankruptcy case. They will also collect payments you make under your repayment plan and make distributions to your creditors.
What Happens After Filing?
Within 14 days of filing, you must submit your repayment plan. The plan must propose an amount you will pay to the trustee either monthly or every two weeks. You must pay the full amount of “non-dischargeable” debts, including student loans, taxes, and child support. However, you could have some or all your “dischargeable” debts, including home and car loans and credit card debt, forgiven.
You are obligated to make a payment under your repayment plan within 30 days of filing for Chapter 13. This applies even if your repayment plan hasn’t been approved yet and a payment is not due within 30 days.
341 Meeting of Creditors
Within 60 days of filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the trustee will hold a “341 meeting of creditors”. At the meeting, the trustee will ask questions to verify the information you presented in your petition. Creditors can attend and ask you questions, but they aren’t likely to show up.
Within 45 days of the 347 Meeting of Creditors, the bankruptcy court will schedule a confirmation hearing. The bankruptcy judge will determine if your repayment plan should be approved.
Repayment Plan Payment
For three or five years after filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will be bound to your repayment plan. In this time, you can’t take on new debts without your trustee’s approval.
Financial Management Course
Prior to discharge, you will have to complete a financial management course in person or online.
Several months before the end of your repayment plan payments, you’ll file a certification to prepare for discharge. You must attest that you met your obligations under the plan.
What Happens When Your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case Ends?
After you make all payments under your repayment plan and filed final paperwork, the court will issue a discharge. This wipes out any remaining balance on qualifying debts so that you don’t owe anything on them anymore. After discharge, you can enjoy a fresh financial start.
Speak to a Charlotte NC Bankruptcy Lawyer to Learn More
How long does it take to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy? It can be a time-consuming process. But an experienced Charlotte NC bankruptcy attorney can guide you through each step. Contact the Law Office of Jack G. Lezman, PLLC today to learn more.