How long will this bankruptcy take, anyway?

It’s one of the most popular questions at my office, and perhaps rightfully so:

“How long does a bankruptcy take?”

It’s also not really the right question to be asking, but let me explain:

If someone is asking “How long does it take to get started?”, the answer is simple: usually right away. Call for an appointment — 978-975-2608 — and if you live anywhere in the Merrimack Valley I can see you fairly quickly. Bring in the bills, and if you can pay the legal and court fees, away you go!

Most folks though, are thinking about something else: “How long until this dang thing is over?” This is the question that is really a little bit off, but I’ll give you an answer anyway. If you file a typical Chapter 7 case, it will typically be over in four months or less. If you file a Chapter 13 case, we must also propose a three or five year payment plan, so these cases by definition last three or five years!

What people should be asking however, is something like “How long until I get relief from my creditors and all those calls, letters, lawsuits, etc, stop coming?” Here there is very good news indeed, because under the bankruptcy code, you get relief from creditor hassassment immediately on the day your case is filed with the bankruptcy court.

So whether your case “takes” three months or three years, you get the benefits as soon as you file bankruptcy, and the benefits usually last for the duration of the case!


By Doug Beaton

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