If you’ve filed bankruptcy in the past, how soon can you file again? How often can you file bankruptcy? Although there are no limits on how often you can file, there are time restrictions on how often you can get a discharge.
How Long Do You Have to Wait Between Bankruptcies?
You may have filed a bankruptcy, but didn’t obtain a discharge. For this reason, there is no limit on how often you can file. Instead, the limit is on how often you can obtain a discharge of your debt. The amount of time you have to wait between discharges depends on the type of bankruptcy you filed in the past and the type you are seeking.
Chapter 7 to Chapter 7
You have to wait eight years after the date the initial Chapter 7 case was filed before you can file your second Chapter 7.
Chapter 13 to Chapter 13
You must wait two years after the filing of your initial Chapter 13 before you can file another Chapter 3.
Chapter 7 to Chapter 13
You must wait four years from the time you filed your Chapter 7 until you can file a Chapter 13.
Chapter 13 to Chapter 7
You must wait six years after filing a Chapter 13 to file a Chapter 7. However, this time limit may be reduced if you paid unsecured creditors in full or at least 70 percent of your claims were paid in good faith or you made your best effort to pay them.
Filing Bankruptcy Before the Time Limit
If you are not technically eligible for a debt discharge, you may still opt to file for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy process can be helpful when dealing with creditors, especially those who want to take legal action against you. For example, bankruptcy can institute an automatic stay on legal actions against you. That means that lawsuits, evictions, car repossessions, and more can be paused or stopped by filing bankruptcy. Although this will not fix your problem, it can buy you time.
By filing bankruptcy, you will be notifying your creditors of your financial situation. If they were unwilling to change the terms of your agreement before, they may be more willing to make changes after you file bankruptcy. In fact, many creditors have a policy that they will negotiate better payment terms with someone who has filed bankruptcy. For example, you may be able to reduce your mortgage payments after you file bankruptcy. This may involve extending your loan or reducing your interest rate.
If you have past due domestic support arrearages, they may be rolled into a Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan. This would include child support, spousal support, alimony, living expenses, and more. However, if you’ve recently filed a Chapter 7, you may have to file a second bankruptcy in the form of a Chapter 13 to allow you relief.
Filing a Second Bankruptcy When You Didn’t Get a Discharge in the First
If you filed a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, but you didn’t receive a discharge, then you are eligible to file a second bankruptcy without a time limit. However, if you file bankruptcies in succession, you may not get the benefit of an automatic stay. If the court feels that you are simply utilizing the automatic stay against your creditors, then it may not extend this privilege to you.
If you failed to obey the court in your first bankruptcy, or failed to appear at hearings, you may be given a 180-day waiting period that you must endure before you can file a second bankruptcy. In some cases, a waiting period may be enforced if you voluntarily dismissed a bankruptcy after a creditor filed a motion for relief. The bankruptcy court enforces this waiting period to dissuade fraud.
If you filed an initial bankruptcy and were denied a discharge, then you may be able to file a second bankruptcy, but you won’t likely be able to discharge the debts that were the subject of your first bankruptcy. Although you would have to list all of your debts in your bankruptcy, a bankruptcy court is not likely to reconsider the debts that were already denied.