How Often Can You File Bankruptcy?

You can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy if it has been more than eight years since you successfully filed for Chapter 7, or more than six years since you successfully filed for Chapter 13. You can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy if it has been more than two years since you’ve had debt discharged in Chapter 13 or more than four years since debt has been discharged in Chapter 7.

If you have previously filed for bankruptcy, then the law places timing restrictions on your ability to file for bankruptcy again. The restrictions depend upon which type of bankruptcy you plan to file.

How often can I file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

If you have previously filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and had debts discharged – zeroed out – then you have to wait before you can file again. In this instance, the waiting period is eight years from the date you previously filed your bankruptcy petition.

If you previously filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, adhered to your repayment plan, and had balances discharged, then you are required to wait six years from the date of your previous Chapter 13 filing before you can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The waiting time doesn’t apply if you previously filed Chapter 13 and you paid back unsecured debt in full or if you paid 70 percent or more of creditor claims.

How often can I file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

If you have previously filed a Chapter 13 petition, then you have to wait two years from the filing date to file another Chapter 13 petition. If your debts were discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, then you must wait at least four years from your previous filing date before you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Are there exceptions to these deadlines?

The deadlines discussed above apply to bankruptcy petitions that have debt discharge as the goal. Sometimes the goal of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing is simply to create breathing room that gets creditors and debt collectors off your back and gives you time to repay your debts. If this is your goal, you can file before the timeframe previously discussed.

Along the same lines, your first filing may not have resulted in a discharge of your debts. If this is the case, then the timeline might not apply to you.

When it comes to bankruptcy, timing is everything. Relying on the skill of an experienced bankruptcy attorney will help ensure that the process goes smoothly and is as painless as possible.

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