Bankruptcy Filing Vs. Discharge Date

By Anna Assad

The bankruptcy filing date is the date when you file the petition for bankruptcy with the court. By contrast, the discharge date occurs toward the end of the process. How long it takes to get from the filing date to the discharge date depends on which type of bankruptcy you file. Chapter 7 is debt elimination and may take only a few months. Chapter 13 involves a debt repayment plan and it may take years until your remaining debt is discharged.

Filing

The filing date is the official date your bankruptcy case begins. On this date, you file all the required paperwork for opening a case in your state's bankruptcy court. This includes the petition that asks the court to grant your bankruptcy and lists all your debts, assets and other financial and personal information. The court sends notice to your creditors about your case as soon as possible after you file.

Discharge

The discharge date is the day the court officially releases you from personal liability for the debts included in your bankruptcy. A discharge is not the official closure of your case, and the court can set it aside if you don't do what the court asked. For example, if the court asked you to turn over an asset and you fail to do so, you can lose your discharge. The final decree, which may come at the same time or after discharge, is the legal closing of your bankruptcy case.

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How Long Before Debt is Discharged After Bankruptcy?
 

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How to Drop a Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy is a last resort attempt to improve your financial health. Bankruptcy protects you from lawsuits and creditors, and results in the discharge, or cancellation, of most debts. The filing will do serious damage to your credit rating, however, and make it more difficult to qualify for a loan. If your finances improve while you are in bankruptcy, and you no longer need the legal protections, you can request that the court dismiss your case.

How Can I Determine the Date of My Bankruptcy Discharge?

When you apply for credit after completing bankruptcy, such as a home mortgage or car loan, new lenders may want to confirm that your discharge has taken place. To provide proof of your discharge date, you'll need to obtain a copy of your discharge order.

How Long Is Chapter 7 Active?

A Chapter 7, or debt elimination, bankruptcy case is active until the court issues your final decree, the judgment that officially closes the case. The average Chapter 7 bankruptcy case remains active for around three to six months. The duration will depend on whether you had assets when you filed; a non-asset bankruptcy goes much faster. If you fail to follow court orders or fulfill debtor requirements, the court may dismiss your case before you obtain a discharge of your debts.

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