How long does it take to rebuild credit after bankruptcy?

Many readers are facing difficult financial times and are forced to file bankruptcy to stop creditor harassment and save some assets, such as their car and home. Numerous debtors are wondering how long it will take them to rebuild their credit history after a bankruptcy. One reader wrote:

With the economy and the loss of my husband's job forced us to go bankrupt and we lost our home. Up until now I had excellent credit with no worries when it came to purchasing anything. I want to know what I could do to regain my credit as I no longer have any credit cards but I do have a car payment that I kept. Will the payments on the car build up any credit for me and how long does it take before it starts to show?

Based on the comment that she no longer has credit cards and lost her home, I am assuming this was a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, which will stay on her credit history for 10 years. A Chapter 13 remains on one's credit history for 7 years, but the clock doesn't start ticking until the Chapter 13 repayment plan has been completed, so it essentially comes up to the same 10 years, or could be 12 years if one has a five-year repayment plan.