A Bankruptcy Timeline

You know you need to file for bankruptcy, but you are not sure what steps to take after that initial decision. How do you get from the starting point to the end, with all applicable debts discharged so you can start over with a clean slate? Many people have questions about bankruptcy, from “how long does bankruptcy take” to “what can I expect from life after bankruptcy?”

The process of bankruptcy has many steps, all of which your lawyer can walk you through with expertise and professional assistance.

Once you have started to consider filing for bankruptcy, and hired a lawyer, you will have to go through the bankruptcy means test. This is the first step in determining what type of bankruptcy you are eligible to file.

Your attorney will need you to provide documentation of many different things, from proof of income to any major financial transactions you have recently undertaken. Paperwork like tax returns, real estate deeds, and vehicle titles all have a role to play in this process.

You lawyer will also help you determine what, if any, property you have that is eligible for bankruptcy exemptions. Arizona law allows people who file for bankruptcy to have some things that are exempt from seizure for liquidation, so it is important to make a complete list of all property.

The actual court filing should be done by your lawyer in an Arizona bankruptcy court. This will automatically prevent your creditors from contacting you or trying to obtain property in lieu of payment.

Depending on the type of bankruptcy for which you are applying, next steps may include making a repayment plan. The court will appoint a bankruptcy trustee, who will work with you and your creditors to ensure repayment. You will also need to attend a meeting of creditors at least once (though the likelihood of a creditor actually showing up very low.)

How long does bankruptcy take? It depends on your case. Chapter 7 bankruptcies tend to go more quickly, spanning a few months, while Chapter 13 cases can last up to 60 months from start to finish as you work through your plan.

Life after bankruptcy is something that should be a relief, but you will still need to keep on top of your finances and work with your attorney to achieve.


This blog is intended as a general discussion of legal issues and not as a statement of fact, legal advice or a legal opinion. No attorney-client relationship is created by this blog. Do not act or rely upon law-related information in this communication without seeking the advice of an attorney licensed to practice in the relevant area.

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