About the Bankruptcy Process | The Law Offices of Thomas J. Orr

A Timeline for Bankruptcy

A Timeline for Bankruptcy

steps to declare bankruptcy

Many of my clients come to me wondering about the proper steps to declare bankruptcy and want to know what happens throughout the entire bankruptcy process. In response, I have put together a bankruptcy timeline to give you a better understanding of what goes on before, during, and after filing for bankruptcy.

Your timeline will depend on the type of bankruptcy you file. Chapter 13 takes between three to five years, whereas Chapter 7 takes roughly 120 days. Below is a general bankruptcy timeline to help you get a better understanding of what happens if you file bankruptcy:

The Bankruptcy Process

You are required to complete a bankruptcy counseling session with an approved agency within 180 days prior to filing. To file bankruptcy in New Jersey, you must have resided in the state or had your principal place of business or assets in the state for the larger part of the past 180 days. We need to review your documents about assets. Income, expenses, and debts.


Whether you are filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you have to file a bankruptcy petition. This is the legal document that says you are going to seek bankruptcy relief.  I am here to guide you through the entire bankruptcy process to make it as painless as possible.

After Filing

In a Chapter 13 case, your first payment will be due to the bankruptcy trustee within 30 days after filing. For a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you’ll need to “reaffirm” your debts in the first 30 days after filing. Reaffirming means you are telling the court there are certain debts you want to keep. My clients may reaffirm their car loan at this stage of the process.

The court will hold a Meeting of the Creditors (also known as a 341 meeting) about 30-45 days after filing. During this hearing, you will be required to testify under oath that all of the information provided to the court is true.

Discharge of Debts

The discharge stage of the process is when the bankruptcy court decides that you are no longer held responsible for a debt. A bankruptcy education course is required prior to your debts being discharged. I will help you find an approved agency and schedule a session.

Chapter 7 debts are discharged about four months after filing. In a Chapter 13 case, the time frame depends on the length of the repayment schedule. But it is typically completed in three to five years.

It is recommended that you seek the counsel of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. I am here to help guide you through the process. Contact my office today to schedule a consultation.

Read the steps to filing for bankruptcy in New Jersey


Hundreds of thousands of Americans, including consumers and business owners, file for bankruptcy each year. While many think this situation is the result of overspending, most cases are due to financial hardship such as job loss, costly medical bills, divorce, or a poor economy.


I’ve been practicing bankruptcy law in Burlington, New Jersey for over 33 years. With just one location, I can focus exclusively on helping my clients make their way not only through bankruptcy, but well past it. We will work together to explore all of your options and determine if bankruptcy is the right choice for you. The goal is to get you on the path to a new beginning.


If you’re losing sleep, feeling scared or even embarrassed, let’s talk. There is life after bankruptcy and it starts here. My offices are located in downtown Burlington, near the Riverline train stop. I provide Saturday and evening hours as needed. I offer payment arrangements to fit your budget. Contact my office today at ​​609-386-8700.


Start your path towards a new financial beginning. Contact our offices today!
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