In a Chapter 7 liquidation as opposed to a reorganizing your debts that with either a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy or a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, your assets (for example, personal property such as your car) which are deemed not exempt pursuant to various Florida statutes and the federal bankruptcy code are liquidated by the appointed Chapter 7 trustee, and the proceeds from the sale are disbursed to your creditors. A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy can be filed for individuals or businesses, but for individuals to qualify, they must pass the means test. If your income exceeds the medium income allowable for your household and your Chapter 7 may be considered abuse under bankruptcy section 707, you may convert your case to a case under Chapter 11 or Chapter 13.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing is relatively quick instead of the more complex Chapter 11 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and your debts are commonly wiped out in three (3) to six (6) months. The timeline to acquire your discharge hinges on a mixture of factors, such as how congested the bankruptcy courts are. However, if creditors oppose your bankruptcy filing or possess non-exempt assets, your discharge may take longer to receive.
How does a Florida Chapter 7 work?
Most Chapter 7 cases have very little issues, and cases are closed in approximately 90 days to 120 days. The time it takes to complete your bankruptcy case depends on how many assets and creditors there are.
Here is a timeline:
- Filing the bankruptcy petition: Your bankruptcy begins with your request for relief – the filing of your bankruptcy petition with the bankruptcy clerk.
- Appearing at the Section 341 meeting: once your completed petition is filed, the bankruptcy clerk will send your creditors a notice of commencement, which includes the date of the section 341 meeting of creditors. This is a court appearance you must attend. The 341 meetings of creditors are held twenty and forty days after the filing of your bankruptcy petition. At the meeting, the appointed bankruptcy trustee will ask you various questions under oath. While very rare, your creditors may appear and also have an opportunity to ask you questions also. The 341 meeting usually takes less than five minutes.
- Additional information may be requested: the chapter 7 trustee or the United States Trustee may request additional information from you after the 341 meeting. Also, your 341 meeting may be continued to another date if you neglect to bring your driver’s license and government-issued document listing your social security number to the meeting. This could also delay the process, so it is important to be prepared. Once the Chapter 7 trustee concludes the 341 meeting, creditors have thirty days to dispute debts that will be discharged or the exemptions you have claimed.
- Filing the certificate for your financial management course: After filing your bankruptcy case, you must complete the required financial management program. This is the 2nd course you must complete to receive your discharge. Your Financial Management course must be completed no later than 60 days after the initial 341 meeting was scheduled.
- Obtaining your discharge order: If your Chapter 7 case goes smoothly, you should receive an order discharging your debts in approximately 60 days following the selection 341 meeting.
If you are considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, contact Miami Bankruptcy Lawyer for a free consultation. During the consultation, our attorney will review your paperwork, determine if a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is right for you, and gauge how long a Chapter 7 filing will take.