Why is My Discharge Taking So Long?

Bankruptcy Attorney

So you’ve successfully filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, congratulations! It’s been a long process of filing out paperwork, tracking down necessary documents, and meeting with your bankruptcy attorney to discuss the desired outcome of your Ohio bankruptcy case. But where are your discharge papers? You frantically check PACER every 20 minutes and losing sleep worried why the discharge is taking so long, all to no avail. Don’t fret, there are a few logical and perfectly normal reasons that could be slowing your discharge down.

How Chapter 7 Discharges Work

Once you have completed all the necessary paperwork, you’ll receive notice of a Meeting of Creditors date. You must attend this meeting to have your discharge approved. Once this 341 Meeting of Creditors is completed you can expect to receive proof of your discharge from the courts within 4 months. Even though your debt may be discharged within 120 days, you should also account for the 2-11 days it takes for the court to get your paperwork into the mail and delivered.

What Can Hold Up a Bankruptcy Discharge?

The number one reason for a delay in debt discharge in bankruptcy is the filing of a creditor objection to discharge. If this happens you will be notified and the Bankruptcy Judge will need to make a ruling on whether or not that particular debt will be discharged or if you’ll be stuck paying it back after your bankruptcy case. The time it takes to make a ruling on these types of adversary proceedings depends on the caseload and efficiency of your bankruptcy court.

When Should I Worry?

There are a few things that your Ohio bankruptcy attorney will advise you to avoid lest they delay your discharge or put it in jeopardy altogether. These include simple things to avoid such as making a false or misleading statement on your bankruptcy petition, transferring property to another person before bankruptcy, destroying property, or otherwise being dishonest or not presenting all your asset information. As long as you have acted in good faith, you can be relatively sure that your discharge will eventually show up.

Receiving Your Discharge

If your discharge doesn’t show up on the exact day you expect it to, make sure you have given the courts at least 10 days to process the discharge and send you the paperwork. If you still haven’t received your bankruptcy discharge and don’t see any changes in the PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) system that tracks all bankruptcies, you can respectfully inquire about it with the bankruptcy clerk in the county in which you filed.

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