How Long Does Bankruptcy Take


The length of time that your bankruptcy takes will entirely depend on several factors, but is mainly affected by the Chapter you file under. A general guideline you can follow is:

  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy takes around four months after the initial filing of the bankruptcy documents.
  • Chapter 13 bankruptcy discharge will occur when all payments are made, generally about three to five years.

If you are filing for a Chapter 9, Chapter 11, or Chapter 12 bankruptcy, the lengths of time may be different. In this article, we are focused on the length of time a Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy will take, however.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Length

Chapter 7 bankruptcies can be as fast as 3 months if the filer moves quickly. This type involves the filing of a petition which must be prepared and signed. Then, they will then take credit counseling and submit a recent federal tax return along with two months’ worth of paychecks. If the client can do this quickly, the case can be filed within a few days or a week. The statutory timeframe after that is around 110 days.

In most cases, however, the client is not that prepared to file upon coming into the office and will need time to gather their information. Once the client prepares all of their information, we will then need time to prepare all of the filing documents. This is why the process is typically around 3 to 4 months, but it can take longer.

Some elements that may hold up the filing include:

  • Inability to take credit counseling
  • Lack of access to their most recent federal tax return
  • Having discarded past paycheck stubs

If you need further assistance with the filing of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, speak with our Memphis bankruptcy attorney at your earliest convenience.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Length

If you file for bankruptcy under Chapter 13, it will likely take around 3 and 5 years depending on your repayment plan. There are times, however, when your case falls outside of this plan. Typically, the length of the bankruptcy will last as long as your repayment plan. Once the payments are complete, your discharge will soon come.

Your annual income is a main determining factor of whether your plan will last 3 or 5 years. If your gross income is below your state’s median income, you only have to have a three year plan. If your income is above the median income of Tennessee, you are required to pursue a 5-year repayment plan.

There is a reason that you may want to stay in a Chapter 13 longer than 3 years, however. There are required payments that must be made in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. With a 5-year plan, these payments can be spread out and the monthly charge will be lower.

The following are some of the required payments:

  • Best interest of creditors test
  • Disposable monthly income
  • Arrears on secured loans

Contact our Memphis bankruptcy attorney at (901) 509-9112 to get the representation you need for your bankruptcy case!