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Michigan Bankruptcy Timeline

Struggling with debt? Bankruptcy could be the solution.

Repaying unmanageable debt may be, in some cases, a losing battle. Under these circumstances, it may be necessary for the debtor to rid themselves of this financial burden once and for all and ultimately move forward with a clean slate—which can be done through a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Although there are numerous alternatives that can be utilized to achieve a similar outcome, including debt consolidation, creditor negotiation and debt settlement, filing for bankruptcy would give an individual the opportunity to discharge most, if not all, of their debt. When faced with a dire financial situation, this is often the most practical solution. For this reason, you should not hesitate to explore your options with a Michigan bankruptcy lawyer at Hensel Law Office, PLLC if you have found yourself in a similar situation.

Preparing for Bankruptcy in Sterling Heights, MI

If you have made the decision to file for bankruptcy in Michigan, you will need to prepare for the process ahead. Although many people think that it starts when you submit your petition to the court, it is important to understand that the preparation phase begins as early as 180 days before filing.

For this reason, our firm encourages you to review the steps below:

  • Avoid Making Large Purchases - Many people assume that they can spend their money recklessly before filing for bankruptcy since their debt will soon be discharged. If you make large purchases or transfer substantial sums of money before filing, however, the bankruptcy court may think that you are attempting to commit fraud—which may lead to the dismissal of your case or a denied request for debt discharge.
  • Take the Means Test - If you are interested in filing under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, you will need to determine whether or not you are eligible. Since this process would eliminate most of your debt, it is strictly reserved for those who are in a dire financial situation. To find out if you qualify, you will need to take a means test—which determines how much disposable income you can contribute to repaying debt.
  • Undergo Credit Counseling - Before filing your bankruptcy petition with the court, you will need to undergo credit counseling within the preceding 180 days. The course must be government-approved, as you will need to include a certificate of completion with your petition. This 90-minute course will help you to evaluate your financial situation, review some of the possible alternatives and create a personal budget plan.

Initiating & Completing the Bankruptcy Process

Once you are adequately prepared to file for bankruptcy, you can submit your petition with the court. It is important to understand that it may take several months to receive a discharge of debt, but you will be able to enjoy the protections of an automatic stay during that period of time.

  • Automatic Stay Will be Ordered - Once your petition has been approved by the court, they will move quickly to order an automatic stay. This order will subsequently prohibit all creditors from continuing their collection efforts—which means that the foreclosure process will be halted, collection agencies will be barred from contacting you and your wages will not be garnished.
  • Creditors Will be Notified - Approximately 7-10 days after you have filed, the court will notify all creditors of the bankruptcy by mail. You will also receive notice of when you will need to appear in court—wherein you will need to decide what debts you will continue to pay. If any of your creditors wish to dispute the impending discharge of debt, they would have 60 days to do so.
  • Meeting with Creditors Will be Held - Approximately 30 days after filing, you will need to submit paperwork to the court indicated which debts you will continue to pay. Immediately after, you will be required to appear in bankruptcy court and meet with your creditors—if they choose to appear. This will start the discharge process unless a creditor disputes a particular debt.
  • Applicable Debts Will be Discharged - Approximately 60-90 days after your bankruptcy hearing, all applicable debts will be discharged. This may take longer if a creditor wishes to dispute the discharge of a particular debt, but you can expect to find relief within a few short months. Once the process has been concluded, you would no longer be protected by the automatic stay.

Still have questions? Call for a free consultation!

Still have questions about the bankruptcy timeline in Michigan? The legal team at Hensel Law Office, PLLC has the answers. We are available to sit down with you and discuss your case—whether you have already made the decision to file for bankruptcy or you are interested in finding a viable alternative—so you should not hesitate to take the first step today. All you will need to do is contact our office at (888) 258-0651 to take advantage of a free initial consultation. After that, we would be more than willing to meet you on the weekend or in the evening, but it is up to you to retain the help that you will need.

Contact the Michigan bankruptcy attorney at our firm today to get started.

Client Testimonials

  • We have and will continue to recommend you to others in need of a fresh start.

    “Dear Tom, my husband and I wanted to express our deepest thanks for the help you gave us during our embarrassing and stressful time. I was very impressed that you returned every phone call in a timely manner. You were able to explain exactly what was going to happen in words that "we" could understand. You answered every question we threw at you. The whole bankruptcy process from start to finish was complete in the time you told us it would take. Your professionalism yet friendliness made the whole experience for us almost enjoyable... almost! We have and will continue to recommend you to others in need of a fresh start.”


  • His knowledge and expertise made a very difficult time in our lives much easier.

    “From start to finish our experience with Mr. Hensel was great. He carefully and thoroughly explained the entire process to us and was always available for any questions or concerns we had. His knowledge and expertise made a very difficult time in our lives much easier. We are very thankful for his help in our situation.”

    Christine and John

  • You made a difficult experience so much easier.

    “Back a few years ago, you helped me through a bankruptcy. I still tell people how you made a difficult experience so much easier, with your clarity, support, and friendly approach to the law. I'm still very appreciative for all your help – it really helped to pull me out of a difficult place and put my life back on track.”


  • Professional, competent, empathetic attorney.

    “My husband and I were forced into a position to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. We were devastated and mortified that we had to choose that route, but Tom eased our stress about the filing and court hearing process, as he thoroughly explained what Chapter 7 entails, as well as exactly what to expect during and after the filing process; he was accurate on each point that he advised us on. Tom also kept in frequent contact with us and responded quickly to any questions or concerns that we had while we worked with him. Tom's expertise and tact was invaluable for us, and we will absolutely recommend him to any of our friends and relatives that may find themselves in similar positions to ours. Thank you, Tom, for your dedicated help during this process.”


  • Tom Hensel is definitely the right attorney to call!

    “I was referred to Tom Hensel by a friend. My first impression was not only was Tom professional but he's so kind and caring too. He helped my husband and I through an embarrassing, scary situation and definitely made it more positive one. He guided us through our options and helped us make the right decision for us which ended up being a chapter 7 bankruptcy. Tom was so knowledgeable and helped us throughout the whole process. He never once made us feel uncomfortable or dumb when we had questions. He was also very easy to get a hold of when questions would come up and would always return our calls and emails promptly. I strongly recommend Tom to anyone going through this kind of financial nightmare. Do yourselves a favor and call him right away. He will help you get on the right path again. Our only mistake was waiting so long to call him!! When we in court waiting our turn all the other attorneys referred to their clients as "The debtors" Tom on the other hand acknowledged us by our names. Little things mean a lot and that left a lasting impression with us. Tom Thank You again for all your help!!”

    Stacy S.