How Long Does Bankruptcy Typically Take?

The length of the process is a significant concern for many people contemplating bankruptcy. However, it may not take as long as you believe. The typical length of the bankruptcy process can vary greatly depending on the chapter under which you file and the judicial district in which your case takes place. Likewise, the ultimate duration of your particular case depends on your individual circumstances and the approach you and your bankruptcy attorney take to the process. However, examining the average length of bankruptcy cases can still be helpful as long as petitioners accept that the duration of individual cases is never certain. 

The following statistics are available through the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts and apply to primarily personal bankruptcies closed during 2012: 

  • The national average length of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy from petition to closing was 205 days.
  • However, the average length of bankruptcy proceedings in California’s four federal judicial districts was much less.
  • A typical Chapter 7 case in California’s Northern District took only 140 days.
  • In the Eastern District, the average length was 150 days.
  • In the Central District, the average length was 140 days.
  • In the Southern District, the average length was 137 days. 

Throughout California, Chapter 7 cases typically close in less than five months. Cases filed under Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 usually take significantly longer. However, California bankruptcy courts still typically move more efficiently than those of other jurisdictions. For example, the mean length of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding in California’s Northern District is nearly 250 days shorter than the national average. 

California residents can take some comfort in the relative efficiency of their bankruptcy courts. However, even in this jurisdiction the process can turn into a nightmare without proper guidance.

Published In: Bankruptcy Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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