How Long Does a Bankruptcy Case Last in Illinois?
As an Illinois bankruptcy lawyer, my clients are often concerned with the timing of their bankruptcy. They want to know how long their bankruptcy will last and when they’re entitled to a discharge. Bankruptcy law is federal law, meaning it applies throughout the country in largely the same way. As a result, the timing of bankruptcy in Illinois is similar to the rest of the country. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy case can last anywhere from three and a half to five months. It is really going to depend upon the nature of your Chapter 7 case, whether or not the trustee is extending the time to object, whether or not it’s being put over for amendments, and whether or not the debtor fully complies with everything that he or she needs to do under the code. The perfect case will last approximately 110 days from filing until discharge.
Case Filed/Notice to Creditors
Once the case is filed, a notice goes out to all creditors and to the debtor advising the debtor of a meeting that they have to appear at known as a 341 meeting of creditors. That meeting takes place approximately four to five weeks after the case is filed. The four to five-week time period gives creditors notice to appear and schedule properly.
341 Meeting/Objection Deadlines
Once that meeting occurs there is another waiting period, which is the deadline to object to discharge. That deadline is approximately 60 days after the meeting of creditors. Provided no creditor objects to the discharge, the clerk of the bankruptcy court will issue that discharge order approximately 60 days after that first meeting of creditors. Thus the start to finish could be anywhere from 90 to 110 days, if everything goes perfectly.
Truste May Ask For Extension of Time to Object
Sometimes the trustee will ask for time to extend out before they issue the discharge. In those cases the trustee is looking into whether or not the debtor is entitled to a discharge, whether the debtor has done something that’s objectionable with regard to the discharge, and whether or not the debtor has provided additional information that the trustee may have requested. That’s the typical time frame for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.
What About Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
As far as Chapter 13, a typical Chapter 13 bankruptcy is going to last somewhere between 36 and 60 months or three to five years. The time frame really depends on the income of the debtor. For example, if the debtor is above the median in terms of income, then the case must last 60 months. If the debtor is under the median, then the case could last as little as 36 months. The case can also conclude earlier than 36 months if the debtor pays the debt in full. So in a case where the debtor is going to repay everybody 100 percent, they can do it within 24 months, then the case will end on the 24th month.
Chapter 13 Timing Can be Unpredictable
Chapter 13 is a little bit less predictable because we don’t know exactly what the creditors are going to be paid until after the claims deadline has passed, which is several months after the case is filed. However, you can rest assured that you will not overpay in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case. Wherever your case is concluded, in other words, whenever you have completed all of your payments under the plan, your payments will stop. If you are on automatic payroll control, the trustee will notify your employer to stop taking payments. If the trustee is overpaid they will do an audit within a month or two of the case closing and you will be refunded any amount that you overpaid throughout your bankruptcy case.