How long does it take for bankruptcy to be discharged?

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Bankruptcy is a legal process that provides individuals and businesses with a fresh financial start by eliminating or restructuring their debts. However, the process of bankruptcy does not end as soon as it is filed. It takes time for bankruptcy to be discharged, and the duration can vary depending on several factors. In this article, we will explore how long it typically takes for bankruptcy to be discharged and the factors that can affect the timeline.

The Bankruptcy Process

Before delving into the timeline, it is important to understand the general process of bankruptcy. Bankruptcy typically involves filing a petition with the court, attending credit counseling sessions, submitting financial documents, and attending a meeting of creditors. The specific steps and requirements may vary depending on the type of bankruptcy filed, whether it is Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also known as liquidation bankruptcy, is the most common type of bankruptcy filed by individuals. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a trustee is appointed to liquidate the debtor’s non-exempt assets and distribute the proceeds to creditors. The entire process usually takes around three to six months from the date of filing to the discharge.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy, also known as reorganization bankruptcy, allows individuals with a regular income to create a repayment plan to pay off their debts over a period of three to five years. The timeline for Chapter 13 bankruptcy is longer compared to Chapter 7. The repayment plan must be approved by the court, and the debtor must make regular payments to the trustee. Once the repayment plan is successfully completed, the remaining eligible debts are discharged.

Factors Affecting the Timeline

While the general timelines mentioned above provide a rough estimate, it is important to note that several factors can affect the duration of the bankruptcy process. Some of these factors include:

Complexity of the Case: The complexity of the case can significantly impact the timeline. If there are disputes, objections, or litigation involved, it can prolong the process.

Accuracy of Documentation: Accurate and complete documentation is crucial for a smooth bankruptcy process. If there are errors or missing information in the initial filing, it can lead to delays and additional court hearings.

Meeting Creditors: In both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies, debtors are required to attend a meeting of creditors. The scheduling of this meeting can vary depending on the court’s caseload and availability, which can affect the overall timeline.

Objections from Creditors: Creditors have the right to object to the discharge of certain debts. If objections are raised, it can lead to additional court hearings and a longer timeline.


The length of time it takes for bankruptcy to be discharged depends on various factors, including the type of bankruptcy filed, the complexity of the case, and any objections or disputes that may arise. While Chapter 7 bankruptcy typically takes around three to six months, Chapter 13 bankruptcy can take three to five years to complete. It is important for individuals considering bankruptcy to consult with a qualified bankruptcy attorney to understand the specific timeline and requirements for their situation.


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