The debtor in a bankruptcy case receives a notice of a discharge by mail once the discharge is completed, according to the United States Courts. The timing of the discharge depends on the type of bankruptcy case. Individual chapter 7 bankruptcies are usually discharged four months after the petition is filed with the clerk. Individual chapter 11, 12 and 13 bankruptcy cases are usually discharged after debtor payments are completed.
Chapter 11, 12 and 13 cases take longer to be discharged because they are debt repayment plans, whereas a chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation plan that usually requires no debts be repaid if the bankruptcy case is successfully discharged, notes the United States Courts. The United States Courts further notes that chapter 11 and 12 bankruptcies are debt restructuring plans for family farmers and fishermen, while chapter 13 bankruptcies restructure debt for individuals with regular sources of income.
Chapter 11, 12 and 13 bankruptcies take an average of four years to be discharged from the time the petition is filed with the court clerk. According to the United States Courts, a copy of the discharge is also sent to the debtor's creditors. The copy of the discharge does not specify which debts are discharged. It warns creditors that it is illegal to attempt to collect a discharged debt.