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How long does it take to receive bankruptcy discharge papers & how long does it take for the discharge to report on your credit?

Woodland Hills, CA |

I filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in December 2011 and I had my hearing on February 2, 2012. I have been waiting anxiously for my documents to arrive.

I signed up for Pacer.com and when I entered my case # and name, my case did NOT come up. I need to apply for my new apartment, but they will NOT qualify me unless I have a copy of the discharge paperwork OR my bankruptcy appears as discharged on my credit report.

Could you please enlighten me as to when I could expect it and what I can do to expedite this process?

Attorney Answers 5


  1. The discharge in Chapter 7 comes no sooner than 61 days after the Meeting of Creditors. In most cases, the discharge comes on about day 65. The discharge can be delayed if you fail to complete the course in financial management. Recall, there are two classes you need to complete: the first before filing and the second before the discharge. There are many other things that can delay the discharge.

    On PACER, try looking for your case using your Social Security number.

    Hope this helps.

    Law Office of Michael J. Primus We are a debt relief agency and help people file for bankruptcy under the bankruptcy laws. We have offices in California only.


  2. Generally, a Chapter 7 case last around 90 days. Your first creditors meeting (or 341 meeting) will be within 30-45 days after you file your bankruptcy. Subsequently, you have about 60-65 until the Court will sign your discharge paper.

    There is a reason why you have to wait 2 months after attending your 341 meeting. First, as stated above, you have to take your financial management counseling course. Essentially, this is the second credit counseling course that you would have taken in regards to your bankruptcy. The first credit counseling should have been taken prior to your bankruptcy filing (at least within 180 days of you filing). If both classes have not been taken, than the Court will keep your case open and eventually dismiss your case without a discharge for you failing to take the classes.

    Another reason may be that you have signed a reaffirmation agreement. Sometimes, depending on your court and judges, they will require a separate hearing regarding your eligibility to sign the reaffirmation agreement to your secured property. Another reason could be that you have un-exempt assets that the Trustee wants to get hold of and sell to distribute to your creditors. It also could be that one of your creditors has filed a objection to your discharge and/or exemptions.

    Sorry for the multiple scenarios, but as you may have guessed, there are a lot of reasons for the holdup. Getting the Pacer account is good and you should try to look yourself up by the social security you listed on your bankruptcy petition (as stated above). If you can't find it, than contact your bankruptcy court clerk to assist you.

    If you don't have an attorney already or in helping you with your Chapter 7 case, you don't necessarily need one now. However, you can contact your local legal assistance organization that offers free advice and assistance to the community.

    The foregoing are comments to a general question of law, and should in no way be interpreted as legal advice. This information does not create an attorney-client relationship. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements


  3. My colleagues are correct. Generally, the discharge will occur approximately 65 days after the 341 meeting. You can also check on the Notice of Filing of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Meeting of Creditors and Deadlines. Right under the Box headed Presumption of Abuse, under 11 USC §707(b), there is a box titled Deadlines which lists the deadline to file an objection to discharge.

    If no objections to discharge are filed prior to that date and you have submitted your required Financial Management course certificate, you should get your discharge shortly after that date.

    DISCLAIMER: This message is intended as a general discussion of legal issues and not as a statement of fact, legal advice or a legal opinion. No attorney-client relationship is created by this message. Do not act or rely upon law-related information in this communication without seeking the advice of an attorney licensed to practice in the relevant area. I am a Federally Designated Debt Relief Agency under the United States Bankruptcy Code. I proudly help people in financial need file bankruptcy cases. IRS CIRCULAR 230 NOTICE: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (or in any attachment) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed in this communication (or in any attachment).


  4. In the Central District of California, which is likely where you filed, the discharge normally comes about 90 days after the meeting of creditors. A creditor objection could delay this, but as it has been more than 60 days since your meeting, and as you have said nothing about any creditor objection, you should expect to receive it within the next 30 days.

    I am also assuming that your case is a no-asset case, meaning that the case trustee is not going after any of your assets to raise money for creditors.

    Hope this helps!


  5. A discharge comes generally within 4 to 6 months. You must complete, prior to discharge, the second half of credit counseling or your case will be closed without discharge, so it is imperative that you complete this second course. A bankruptcy can appear on your credit report for up to 10 years.

    The debt that was listed in your Chapter 7 case should be zeroed out by each credit reporting agency, so you should pull your credit reports to ensure that the debt is listed as $0.00. In the event that the credit reporting agency does not list the debt as $0.00, you need to dispute it with the credit reporting agency. Good luck, and I hope this general information helps.

    This information is given for informational purposes only. Nothing contained herein is intended to create nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. You should not rely on this as legal advice. If you need legal advice, you should seek the consultation of a licensed, qualified attorney.