Caution: This timeline does not include all bankruptcy events. It is a summary description of bankruptcy and may not be accurate under all circumstances. You should consult a qualified attorney to see how the law will apply to your situation.
Who or what is a debtor?
The debtor is the person or other entity that has filed the bankruptcy, and owes money to the creditors [11 USC §101(13)].
Commencement of Case
A voluntary bankruptcy is commenced by the filing of a petition with the Bankruptcy Court requesting protection from creditors under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. A husband and wife may file one petition together and commence a joint case [11 USC §301, 11 USC §302, 11 USC §101(42), Rule 1002 FRBP].
Filing fee due
In both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, the filing fee must accompany the petition which starts the case, unless an application to pay the fees in installments is granted [Rule 1002(b) FRBP].
List of creditors must be filed
In both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, the petition must also be accompanied by a list of the names and addresses of the debtor’s creditors [Rule 1007(a) FRBP].
Statement of Social Security Number must be filed
In both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, the petition must also be accompanied by a verified statement that sets out the debtor’s social security number [Rule 1007(f) FRBP].
15 Days after Bankruptcy Filed
Schedules must be filed
In both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, schedules of assets and liabilities, a schedule of current income and expenditures, a schedule of executory contracts and unexpired leases, and a statement of financial affairs must be filed within 15 days after the bankruptcy was filed [11 USC §521(a)(1), Rule 1007(b), (c) FRBP].
Chapter 13: Plan must be filed
In Chapter 13, the Plan must also be filed within 15 days after the Bankruptcy was filed. The plan provides for submission of future income and the treatment of creditors, specifying when and how much each kind of creditor will receive [Rule 3015(b) FRBP].
About 18 Days after Bankruptcy Filed
Court Mails Notice of Commencement of Case
Approximately 18 days after the bankruptcy is filed, the court mails a Notice of Commencement of Case to the debtor and to the creditors included in the list of creditors. The notice contains meeting date, deadlines for objections to discharge and for filing Proofs of Claims. The court’s Automated Information Line provides much of this information almost immediately after the bankruptcy is filed.
30 Days after Bankruptcy Filed
Chapter 7: Statement of Intention regarding secured debt must be filed
Within 30 days after a Chapter 7 has been filed (or before the § 341 meeting if that is earlier), the debtor must file a Statement of Intention regarding property secured by consumer debt. That statement shall indicate whether the debtor intend to: (1) reaffirm the debt and continue to make the payments remaining obligated for the balance of the debt, (2) redeem the property by immediately paying the value of the property, or (3) surrender the property [11 U.S.C. § 521(2)(A); Rule 1007(b)(2) FRBP]. A copy of the Statement of Intention must be served on the trustee and the creditors named in the statement on or before the filing of the statement [Rule 1007(b)(2) FRBP].
Chapter 13: Plan payment due.
The debtor in a Chapter 13 must start making his plan payments within 30 days after the bankruptcy was filed [11 USC §1326(a)(1)].
7 Days before 341 Meeting
Provide copies of tax returns
Not later than 7 days before the date first set for the first meeting of creditors, the debtor shall provide a copy of the debtor’s most recent Federal income tax return to the trustee and to any creditors that have requested it [11 U.S.C. § 521(e)(2)]. The Debtor must also present any pay stubs and additional requested documents to the trustee.
About 120 days after Bankruptcy Filed
§ 341 Meeting (Creditor’s Meeting)
Section 341 (the symbol “§” means section) of the Bankruptcy code requires the Trustee to preside at a meeting of creditors within a “reasonable time” after the filing of the bankruptcy [11 USC §341]. This meeting is usually held approximately six weeks after Bankruptcy is filed. The meeting time and date is included in the Notice of Commencement of Case mailed by the court, and is available on the court’s Automated Information Line shortly after the case is filed. Each debtor is required to attend this meeting and testify under oath, but most creditors do not come to the meeting. The failure of creditors to attend the meeting does not effect their right to challenge the discharge in a Chapter 7 or to object to the plan in a Chapter 13. If the debtor does not attend, the case will be dismissed.
30 Days after 341 Meeting
Deadline to file objection to claim of exemption
If the Trustee or other party of interest objects to the debtor’s claim of exempt property, they must their objection within 30 days after the 341 meeting [Rule 4003(b) FRBP].
Chapter 7: Debtor must perform under the Statement of Intention
In Chapter 7, the debtor must perform under the Statement of Intention, and (1) reaffirm the secured debt and continue to make the payments remaining obligated for the balance of the debt, (2) redeem the property by immediately paying the value of the property, or (3) surrendering the property [11 U.S.C. § 521(a)(2)(B); but 11 U.S.C. § 521(a)(6) appears to specify a time of 45 days after the meeting for the same action].
60 Days after 341 Meeting
Chapter 7: Deadline for objection to discharge of a particular debt under §523(c)
Creditors have until 60 days after the first date set for 341 meeting to file a complaint under 11 U.S.C. § 523(c). That section allows creditors to object to the discharge of debts which were obtained by false pretenses, a false representation, or actual fraud; debt from fraud or defalcation while acting in a fiduciary capacity, embezzlement or larceny; and debt for willful and malicious injury [Rule 4007(c) FRBP]. This deadline applies to objections to discharge of:
Consumer debts owed to a single creditor and aggregating more than $550 $500 (added by BAPCPA 10-17-05) for luxury goods or services incurred by an individual debtor on or within 90 days before a Chapter 7 bankruptcy [11 USC §523(a)(2)(C)(i)(I), 11 USC §1328(b)], and Consumer debts owed to a single creditor and aggregating more than $550 $500 (added by BAPCPA 10-17-05) for luxury goods or services incurred by an individual debtor on or within 90 days before the bankruptcy is filed are presumed to be nondischargeable in Chapter 7 [11 USC §523(a)(2)(C)(i)(I), 11 USC §1328(b)].
Chapter 7: Deadline for objection to discharge of all debt under §727(a)
Creditors have until 60 days after the first date set for 341 meeting to file a complaint under 11 U.S.C. § 727(a). That section allows object to the discharge of all debts because of misconduct including transfer, destruction or concealment of property; concealment, destruction, falsification or failure to keep financial records; making false statements; withholding information; failing to explain losses; failure to respond to material questions; having received a discharge in a prior case filed within the last 6 years [Rule 4004(a) FRBP].
Chapter 7: Deadline for U.S. Trustee or court to move to dismiss case for “substantial abuse” under §707(b)
Until 60 days after the first date set for the 341 meeting, the U.S. Trustee or the court may move to dismiss a case in which debts are primarily consumer debts if it finds that the granting of relief would be a “substantial abuse” of the provisions of Chapter 7 [Rule 1017(e) FRBP]. “Substantial abuse” was expanded by the Bankruptcy Reform Act, which went into effect on October 17, 2005, to include a Means Test which allows Chapter 7 only if a debtor has less income than the median for the state of residence, or can pay less than 25% of his or her unsecured debt from income remaining after meeting expenses over a 5 year period. [11 USC §707(b)].
More than 60 Days after 341 Meeting
Discharge entered in Chapter 7 case
Court rules require that the discharge be entered “forthwith” after the expiration of the time for objecting to discharge or moving to dismiss the case. The time for those objections expires 60 days after the first date set for creditor’s meeting[Rule 4004(c)(1) FRBP, Rule 4004(a) FRBP, Rule 1017(e) FRBP]. The discharge is not absolute or final. The Trustee can ask that the discharge be set aside if the debtor does not turn over non-exempt property, if the debtor fails to perform other duties, or if there were other matters pending which would result in the denial of the discharge.
90 Days after 341 Meeting
Deadline for non-government creditors to file their Proofs of Claim
A creditor, other than a governmental unit, must file its Proof of Claim within 90 days after the after the first date set for creditor’s 341 meeting in order to share in payments from the estate [Rule 3002(c) FRBP].
120 Days after Bankruptcy Filed
Final payment on filing fees due.
If the the Court allowed the debtor to pay the filing fees for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 in payments, the final payment must be made within 120 days after the filing of the bankruptcy [Rule 1002(b) FRBP].
180 Days after Bankruptcy Filed
Deadline for governmental unit to file Proof of Claim
A governmental unit, such as the Internal Revenue Service, must file its Proof of Claim within 180 days after the commencement of the case in order to share in payments from the estate. [Rule 3002(c)(1) FRBP].
3 to 5 years after First Plan Payment
Length of payments under Chapter 13 Plan
Unless all allowed claims are paid sooner, plan payments must continue for a minimum of the three-year period beginning on the date that the first payment is due under the plan, or a maximum of a five year period. [11 USC §1325(b)(1), 11 USC §1322(d)].
Discharge entered in Chapter 13
Upon completion of plan payments the discharge in Chapter 13 is entered [11 USC §1328].