The short answer to this question is that in most cases, we can get a bankruptcy case filed in about 3 hours if the bankruptcy attorney has a prepared client sitting live in the office with them. I have been practicing bankruptcy for over 21 years. My law firm has 7 offices, 5 attorneys and about 20 staff members. We have the people power and the software to get the job done.
However, I hate filing emergency bankruptcy cases because I like to spend time exploring all options. Many times, we have clients who come into the office insisting that they get a case number immediately because of pressure from creditors. Bankruptcy offers instant protection from creditors and this drives some people to move too fast. The truth is that in most cases, we have some time for contemplation before filing a Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Most of the time it is best to first consider all possible options. Some people want to file for bankruptcy right immediately, but in reality, it is the worst possible thing they could do.
For example, under Georgia law a married couple can exempt a maximum of $43,000 in equity and a single person can exempt a maximum of $21,500 in equity. Real estate values are shooting through the roof and it is not uncommon to see people with a lot of equity in their house in the current market. In some situations, filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a terrible decision. If someone files Chapter 7 and then they find out that they have more equity in their house than they thought, they cannot simply quit the Chapter 7. If a Chapter 7 trustee decides he wants to sell your house and pay you the exempted equity amounts, you cannot stop her. This is just one example of the small things that need to be considered before filing bankruptcy.
In most cases, people have more time to contemplate options than their emotions tell them. In Georgia, a creditor must sue you and get a judgement before they can collect money form your paycheck or checking account. This process takes at least 30 days.