You know that point in the road trip when the kids all start asking how much longer until you get there? At first they take turns asking quietly. But the longer you are in the car, the louder and more repetitious the questions get regardless of the length or accuracy of the answers they are offered. A similar phenomenon seems to be prevalent amongst adults going through bankruptcy. The most loaded question of all is one that individuals filing bankruptcy can’t seem to stop asking: how long does my Chapter 7 bankruptcy last?
Just to be very, very clear (and to avoid the hair pulling stage that this particular phenomenon can lead to in severe cases) we’ll provide a detailed answer in writing to each possible interpretation of this common Chapter 7 bankruptcy question.
When asking this particular loaded question, some filers are actually wondering how long the chapter 7 bankruptcies will be kept on their credit report and thus affecting their score. To these individuals it’s important to point out that if they are filing for bankruptcy, chances are their credit score has already been dinged pretty severely. In many cases, not filing for bankruptcy would eventually result in a lower credit score. The actual answer is this: 10 years. Your bankruptcy will be listed in the public records section of your credit report with all major credit reporting agencies for 10 years. You won’t be able to talk them into removing it. You won’t be able to trick them into removing it. You won’t be able to obtain an exception to the rule. You will see your bankruptcy on your credit report for the full decade. And so will everyone else who accesses it. If this is something you can’t accept, bankruptcy isn’t for you.
Other filers are actually asking an entirely different question. They want to know how long their Chapter 7 bankruptcy is going to take. How long until it’s over? This question doesn’t have an easy answer; at least in comparison to the previous interpretation. The length of time between filing and the bankruptcy being “over” depends entirely upon whether or not the trustee has assets to administer or lawsuits to pursue. You’ll know it’s completely over and done with when you receive the Final Decree. The Final Decree officially closes the case. It’s not entered by the court until the trustee handling the case reports that all the assets have been administered and all money recovered has been paid to creditors who filed claims.
Still another set of individuals filing bankruptcy find themselves asking how long their Chapter 7 will last when they actually want to know exactly when they will receive their discharge. Most Chapter 7 filers are focused entirely on receiving the discharge and can expect to see it within 3 to 4 months.
Regardless of where you stand in the spectrum of this particular phenomenon don’t try to hold your questions back. If you have questions ask them. If you feel the answers weren’t adequate or you didn’t get the answer you were looking for ask for clarification. This is a legal process. There are answers to all your questions. You aren’t going to present a bankruptcy case that is completely unlike any that has been seen before.
If you feel the need to ask one more time, “How long will my Chapter 7 bankruptcy last?” feel free to contact the experienced bankruptcy lawyers at Westgate Law. We have plenty of patience for all your questions and more importantly, we have the answers you are looking for.