The following is for a chapter 7 case. Now that you have done a great job filling out your bankruptcy paperwork, filing all the required documents with the court, providing the trustee with the requested information, attending the meeting with the trustee and completing the post-petition financial management course (and filing the certificate with the court) you are looking for the discharge. Remember that the discharge only deals with the creditors listed in your bankruptcy. The court enters the discharge unless there is a request to postpone entry or if you have a matter pending before the court, like a reaffirmation agreement. The normal discharge time frame is approximately 90 to 120 after your case was filed the Clerk’s office. Receiving the discharge is not the end of your responsibility to the trustee. Your discharge can be revoked if you fail to submit documents, surrender non-exempt property or comply with requests from the trustee and/or the court.
If your case is an “asset case”, meaning that there are funds to be distributed to the creditors, then the creditors will have an opportunity to file proofs of claim. There will be a a notice sent to all the listed creditors with a deadline to file their claims. The trustee will make a distribution based on the claims filed and then complete his or her final report. The time period for all of this to occur differs depending on complexity of the items to be liquidated, and the work habits of the Trustee. This period could be a few months to a few years; but the average in Arizona is approximately 6-8 months. The clerk’s office will close the case once the distribution is completed and the the trustee files their final report.
The discharge notice will be mailed to all the listed creditors. The discharge prohibits the listed creditors from suing you or sending a demand for payment, unless you agree otherwise.
Just because a discharge has been entered does not mean your debts are gone. Certain debts survive a bankruptcy: child support, some taxes, most student loans, fraud which has been determined by a court, and several others. Also, debts secured on property, such as a house or car, will remain secured on that property. That means if you want to keep the house or car you need to pay for it. It is very important to talk to your bankruptcy lawyer in order to understand your rights and obligations.