Nobody plans to file bankruptcy twice, but it’s hard to get by in today’s economy. Covid-19 hasn’t made anything any easier, and some people are once again in dire financial straits through no fault of their own.
The law does allow for multiple bankruptcies.
If you have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the past, the earliest you can file Chapter 7 again is 8 years from the date you filed your previous case. Note this is not the same date as your discharge date. You could file a Chapter 13 six years after your Chapter 7.
If you file Chapter 13 a second time then you have to wait 2 years from your discharge.
There are of course other forms of bankruptcy that aren’t as common: Chapter 12, and Chapter 11. If you filed Chapter 11 you have to wait 8 years before filing a Chapter 7 or 4 years before filing a chapter 13. If you filed Chapter 12 you have to wait 4 years before filing Chapter 7 or 13.
There is no limit on the number of times you can file for bankruptcy, as long as you observe the proper time limits between each filing. There are some caveats. If your bankruptcy case is dismissed you can still file again, and you can even do so immediately after the case dismissal. The difference is the automatic stay may be as little as 30 days, which means it won’t cover the entire period of time that it would take to get your discharge. In some cases it may be eliminated altogether.
A bankruptcy case can be dismissed for several reasons. In a Chapter 13 case the most common reason is failing to make your payments. Yet your case will also be dismissed if the court finds you are hiding assets, or if you are charged with bankruptcy fraud. A case may also be dismissed if you weren’t eligible to file in the first place.
Combine the multiple filing time restrictions with time restrictions on taking out new debt, spending certain amounts of money, or transferring property, and it’s easy to see how timing can come to play a big role in the moves you make when you’re in dire financial straits.
An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you avoid mistakes in timing, as well as other mistakes which could get your case dismissed.
Are you considering a new bankruptcy case? If so, contact our office today to schedule a free consultation.
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