Woman filling in bankruptcy form

How Long Does Bankruptcy Appear on a Credit Report?

Law Office of Robert L. Firth Dec. 22, 2023

If you’ve been researching the pros and cons of bankruptcy, you've likely come across the con of how bankruptcy can impact your credit score. Your credit score is a measure of your financial health and ability to manage debt, so understandably, bankruptcy can have a significant impact on it. But exactly how long does bankruptcy stay on your credit report?  

The answer depends on the type of bankruptcy you file for and the policies of the credit reporting agencies.  

Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

There are two main types of personal bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Each has different implications for your credit report. 

Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also known as "liquidation" bankruptcy, involves canceling most or all of your debts. It's a form of relief that can be incredibly helpful if you're struggling with an overwhelming amount of debt. In California, we're fortunate that the bankruptcy exemption limit is quite generous, meaning you can discharge a significant amount of debt without losing many assets. However, any additional property may be used to repay debts.  

  • This type of bankruptcy typically remains on a credit report for 10 years after the filing date. 

On the other hand, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, also called a "wage earner's plan," allows individuals with regular income to develop a repayment plan for part or all of their debt. If you're able to stick to this repayment plan, Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be a viable option for getting back on track financially.  

  • This form of bankruptcy stays on a credit report for 7 years from the filing date. 

Your Right to Dispute Incorrect Information on Your Credit Report

You might be wondering if there's a way to remove a bankruptcy from your credit report sooner. While the bankruptcy public record is deleted automatically at the end of the period (either seven or ten years), if you come across any inaccurate information pertaining to bankruptcy on your credit report, you have the right to dispute it. You can initiate the dispute process with the three major credit reporting bureaus, namely Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. By doing so, you can take steps to rectify any discrepancies and ensure the accuracy of your credit history. 

For instance, let's consider a scenario where you filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2010. You've recently obtained a copy of your credit report in 2022 and noticed that the bankruptcy is still listed. This is incorrect, as Chapter 7 bankruptcy should only stay on your credit report for 10 years. In this case, you would have the right to dispute this information with the credit reporting bureaus. You can contact them, explain the situation, provide any necessary supporting documents, and request an amendment to your credit report.  

If you're concerned about what you see on your credit report, we can provide guidance on how to go about this process, taking steps to ensure that your credit report accurately reflects your financial history. 

Rebuilding Credit After Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy does have a significant impact on credit scores, but you can start rebuilding your credit even before the bankruptcy is removed from your credit report. Here are a few strategies to work on rebuilding credit: 

  • Making payments on time: This is one of the most straightforward ways to improve your credit score. 

  • Getting a co-signer: Having someone co-sign a loan or credit card can help you rebuild your credit. 

  • Becoming an authorized user on someone else's credit card: If you have a close friend or family member who's willing to add you as an authorized user, this can also help improve your credit score. 

At the Law Office of Robert L. Firth, we're committed to providing transparent information about the entire bankruptcy process and helping our clients find their best path toward debt relief. We understand that declaring bankruptcy is a significant event in anyone's life. But it's crucial to remember that it does not define your financial future.  

We Provide Genuine Support and Guidance

Our experienced bankruptcy attorney will provide you with personal attention and guidance throughout the entire process. If you decide that declaring bankruptcy is the best option for you, we'll help you understand the impact of bankruptcy on your credit report and work with you to develop a plan to rebuild your credit post-bankruptcy.  

Don't let fear or misinformation hold you back from exploring all of your options for relief. At the Law Office of Robert L. Firth, we're located in Cathedral City, California, and we proudly serve clients throughout Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Desert Hot Springs, Rancho Mirage, and the Coachella Valley. Contact us today for a free case evaluation and take the first step towards a brighter financial future.