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When will my debts be discharged after filing for bankruptcy?

Long Islanders who are having financial challenges and have sought relief through filing for bankruptcy might not be fully cognizant of certain basic factors. These are important to understand as the process moves forward. One question that might be foremost in the debtor's mind is when the discharge of debts will take place. Knowing the answer to this foundational question can help the debtor prepare for the future.

There is no ironclad time at which the discharge will be given. It depends on the chapter under which bankruptcy has been filed. For a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court will generally grant the discharge when the time frame for a complaint by the creditors can be filed has expired. Creditors sometimes have a reason to object. Once this time has passed, then the discharge can be granted. This is 60 days after the first date of the meeting of 341 creditors. The discharge will happen approximately four months after the date of the debtor filing the petition.

For Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the court will often give the discharge as soon as is feasible after the payments have been completed based on the plan. With Chapter 13 being a wage-earner's bankruptcy and the payments being made within a three-to-five-year time span, the discharge will come around four years after the case was filed. A debtor must remember to follow the requirements to complete the case. With Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, the debtor must take an educational course in managing his or her finances. Failing to do so can jeopardize the discharge.

There are many different factors that go into a bankruptcy case and which chapter is applicable to the individual. It is based on the situation. However, knowing when the discharge will be granted is one of the most important factors as it can help the person make an informed decision as to the future and knowing when the debts will be gone. Discussing a case with an attorney who is experienced with all chapters and aspects of bankruptcy law can help with this and any other questions.

Source: uscourts.gov, "Discharge in Bankruptcy -- Bankruptcy Basics -- When does the discharge occur?," accessed on July 18, 2017

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