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Filing For Bankruptcy More Than Once

There is no limit in the number of bankruptcy cases one can file.  However, there are certain time restrictions that apply.  The situations are: (1) re-filing your case after it has been dismissed without discharge, (2) re-filing after you have previously received a Chapter 7 discharge, (3) and re-filing after you received a Chapter 13 discharge.

In the first situation, you can file your bankruptcy case immediately, unless your case was dismissed for failure to obey a court order, failure to appear in the case, or you voluntarily dismissed the case after a creditor filed a motion for relief from the bankruptcy stay.  In those cases, you will have to wait 180 days after your previous case was dismissed to file again.  It should be noted, that a new filing fee will have to be paid, unless the attorney is able to reinstate your case.  Also, the attorney must motion the court to extend the automatic stay if you are re-filing within 12 months of your previous case.

In the second situation, a debtor who receives their discharge in a Chapter 7 will have to wait 8 years from the date they previously filed pursuant to bankruptcy code §727 (a)(8) to file Chapter 7 again.  If they are filing a Chapter 13, they have to wait only 4 years from the date of filing the previous Chapter 7 pursuant to §1328 (f)(1).  There are rare circumstances in which a debtor that received their discharge in a Chapter 7 immediately files a Chapter 13.  Here, the debtor will not get a Chapter 13 discharge, but you can benefit from the protection the bankruptcy will provide while you are paying other debts such as tax or student loan debts.

In the third situation, after successfully getting a discharge in a Chapter 13 a debtor must wait 6 years from the date they filed their previous petition to file a Chapter 7 pursuant to §727 (a)(9).  The only exception to the 6 year waiting period are (1) if you paid all unsecured creditors in full in the Chapter 13, or (2) if you paid at least 70% of the claims in the Chapter 13 and the plan was proposed in good faith and was your best effort.  If the debtor is filing consecutive 13’s, they must wait 2 years from the date they filed the previous petition.

Make sure to contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney if you are considering on filing another bankruptcy.


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