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How Fast Can I Get Through the Bankruptcy Process?

There is no easy answer to this question. The time it takes to complete bankruptcy can vary depending on the chapter under which you are seeking bankruptcy, the amount of assets involved and the way that your creditors react. But there are some general observations about the time frames of the bankruptcy process that we can state.

Chapter 13 — which is individual bankruptcy for people who still have a regular income — usually takes the longest to complete. This is because Chapter 13 involves a repayment plan which usually remains in effect from three and five years. The petitioner cannot receive a discharge until he or she has fully completed the term of the payment plan.

On the other hand, the Chapter 7 process can be much shorter, often being completed in only a few months. But if there are substantial nonexempt assets in the bankruptcy estate that must be liquidated or if the creditors raise objections, even Chapter 7 can take substantially longer.

Chapter 11 is the most complex of the common types of bankruptcy and it also has the greatest degree of flexibility in the area of time frames. It can go very fast or very slow depending on how well the debtor, creditors and court work together. Complex and contentious cases can drag on for years. Conversely, for well-planned Chapter 11 cases where the debtor and creditors are able to work together, petitioners can emerge from b within a couple of months.

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