30 Days after filing—The Meeting of Creditors
Approximately 30 days after the filing of your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case, you will appear before a bankruptcy trustee for your first meeting of creditors. The first meeting of creditors is also called a 341 meeting. At the meeting, the bankruptcy trustee will ask you very basic questions about your assets and debts. Creditors have the right to attend the meeting of creditors, however, few of them do. Keep in mind, however, that a creditor failing to appear at the meeting of creditors does not mean their rights are terminated or modified in any way.
30 Days after the Conclusion of the Meeting of Creditors—Objections to Claim of Exemptions
In the event that the Trustee or a creditor believes that your claim of exemptions is excessive or improper, they have 30 days from the conclusion of your meeting to file written objections. If no objection is filed, the property claimed as exempt re-vests in the debtor and is no longer considered property of the estate.
45 Days after filing—Signing Reaffirmation Agreements, Surrendering Collateral or Redeeming
Within 45 days after your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is filed, you are required to comply with the Statement of Intentions that is filed as part of your case. The Statement of Intentions is a form which informs your secured creditors of your intentions with regard to their collateral. The form tells the creditors whether you are going to reaffirm the debt owed to them, surrender the collateral securing their debt, or redeem the collateral for its value. If you intend to keep a creditor’s collateral, you must sign a reaffirmation agreement. A reaffirmation agreement is a written document that sets forth the terms under which you will repay the creditor’s debt after your case is filed. In the Eleventh Circuit, you must either reaffirm, surrender, or redeem collateral. You do not have the right to keep the collateral and simply keep paying for it. Some creditors may allow you to do this but you cannot force them to accept this arrangement. Whether a creditor agrees to reaffirm a debt is solely up to the creditor. A creditor cannot be forced to enter into a reaffirmation agreement.
60 Days after the first setting of the 341 Hearing—Creditors required to file Dischargeability Complaints
Within 60 days of the first setting of your meeting of creditors, any creditor wishing to object to your discharge must file an adversary proceeding (a lawsuit) asking that either your discharge be denied as to all debts or as to that creditor’s debt. An objection to your discharge as a whole is filed pursuant to 11 U.S.C. Section 727. A common example of a Section 727 objection would be a debtor fraudulently conveying property within one year of the filing of your bankruptcy case. A creditor objecting merely to the discharge of their debt does so under 11 U.S.C. Section 523. Common Section 523 objections relate to fraud, embezzlement, and debts arising from willful and malicious injuries.
A Motion to dismiss or convert a consumer case under 11 U.S.C. Section 707(b) must be filed within 60 days of the first setting of the meeting of creditors unless the Court grants an extension of time to file a motion within the original 60 day period.
About 90 Days after filing of case—Entry of Discharge
If no creditor objects to the entry of your discharge by the relevant deadline, the clerk of the bankruptcy court will enter your discharge sometime after the 90th day from the filing of your case. Each case is assigned to a case clerk, and the discharge will be entered after times set out above have passed and the clerk has time to enter it. It is not entered by your bankruptcy lawyer’s office, so please try to be patient if the time has passed and you have not yet received a discharge.