What to Expect During Bankruptcy

Posted over 2 years ago. Applies to Minnesota, 0 helpful votes



A bankruptcy case begins with a Petition

The Petition is a complex document, and includes characterization of debts. Typically, because the filing requirements are so stringent, a lawyer will prepare this document. In most cases, preparing and filing your Petition is the hardest part of the process. The Petition will be under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. Chapter 7 discharges your debts; Chapter 13 allows you to pay most of them off over time. (There are other Chapters: Chapter 11' deals with business reorganization, and other Chapters deal with farms, railroads and municipalities.)


Automatic Stay

When you file bankruptcy, federal law imposes an "automatic stay" which prevents your creditors from taking any action to collect debts against you, including court judgments and tax debts, during the pendency of the bankruptcy. For instance, if you have been sued with a lawsuit by one of your creditors to appear in court over a debt, the bankruptcy filing will stop this lawsuit.


Notice of Filing

Immediately after you file, the Bankruptcy Court will send out a Notice of Filing and a Notice of Stay to your creditors. This Notice makes it illegal for your creditors to continue trying to collect from you, although they are free to contact your attorney. If you are contacted before the Notices go out, tell the creditor that you have filed and give them the Bankruptcy Court docket number


Meeting of Creditors

Between four and six weeks after your filing, you will have to attend a "Meeting of Creditors" chaired by the Bankruptcy Trustee assigned to your case. Unless there is a "red flag" that alerts the Trustee that your case is unusual, this will be a brief meeting. Generally, the Trustee will ask you afew form questions and a few questions related to your business, and then will ask if there areany creditors present, with questions.Usually there will not be, although some credit card providers attend many or most Meetings of Creditors. If the Meeting of Creditors is uneventful, the process is probably over for you and your lawyer. In a Chapter 7 Petition, you will receive a Notice of Discharge in about eight weeks. If the creditors have problems with your Petition, they have a certain amount of time to object to your discharge. This is done with an adversary proceeding. An adversary proceeding asks the Bankruptcy Court to refuse to discharge a certain debt for some particular reason.



If there are no problems with your Chapter 7 Petition and once any adversary proceedings are resolved, you will receive a Notice of Discharge. You may have to fill in forms to get a judgment removed from a judgment roll, but other than bookkeeping matters you have been given a fresh start. It's hard to say how long all these steps will take in your case. The entire process can take from as little as three months, to as long as five years. Adversary proceedings are as uncertain as any other litigation, although most Bankruptcy Courts are fairly vigilant about moving them through the system quickly.

Additional Resources

Minneapolis Bankruptcy Lawyer

Rate this guide

Related Topics


Bankruptcy is a legal way for people or businesses who are no longer capable of paying back their bills to clear these debts and start over.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a form of bankruptcy where your debts are canceled, but some of your assets are sold to pay off part of your debt.

Stephen M. Dunne

What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy wipes out ("discharges") your debts. Chapter 7 is the bankruptcy provision most frequently used by individuals. It involves the complete liquidation of a debtor's... more

Avvo advisor logo@2x

Need an answer to your questions within 15 minutes?

  • 15-minute phone call
  • Ask any questions
  • $39 flat fee
  • Money-back guarantee
Talk to an attorney now

Can't find what you're looking for?

Ask span5@2x

Ask a question on our public forum.

Ask a lawyer
Advisor span6@2x

Have an attorney contact you privately.

Right now.

Icon lock@2x
Secure conversation. Your details remain between you and your attorney.
Icon clock@2x
Get an answer guaranteed. Be assured that a lawyer will contact you to help with your legal issue.
Start your session now