I am often asked as a Peotone bankruptcy lawyer, how long will this bankruptcy case take? Everybody wants to know how long it’s going to take to file bankruptcy and get out of debt and get back on your feet again. Well, the answer is cases can run relatively quickly, approximately three to four months, while other cases can last for several months or years, depending on the nature of the debt and whether or not there are any issues that are going to be caused with creditors filing objections. The typical case works like this: an individual comes into my office for a consultation. We can then prepare a bankruptcy petition if the person hires me on the spot. I send the bankruptcy petition out for signatures; the individual signs the document and returns it to me. Once the bankruptcy fee and the court costs are paid in full and all of the pre-filing bankruptcy requirements are satisfied, the case can then be filed as an Illinois bankruptcy case with the clerk of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The clerk of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court will then give court date known as a “341 meeting of creditors.” That court date is set out approximately three to four weeks after the case is filed. At the meeting, the 341 meeting, the trustee will ask a series of yes/no questions to the debtor and debtor will answer those questions, and if the trustee is satisfied that there are no significant assets and that there are no amendments to be made, the trustee will make a finding of no assets and adjourn the meeting.
The next timeframe is approximately three months where creditors have an opportunity to object to the discharge of the person claiming bankruptcy. A creditor will object if they believe the debtor committed some sort of fraud such as running up the credit cards or obtaining money through false pretenses. Once that 60- to 90-day period has run, the deadline to object to the debtor’s discharge has expired, and the clerk of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court will issue a bankruptcy discharge. That discharge notice will be sent to the debtor, the attorney for the debtor, and all of the creditors that were listed on the individual’s schedules and petition. That is the final document that the debtor will receive in a typical Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. If everything goes well, a bankruptcy case will last anywhere between three to four months if there are no objections from creditors and no extensions of time by the panel trustee assigned to the bankruptcy case. For more bankruptcy advice, contact an attorney in your area who handles bankruptcy cases on a daily basis.