Can I File Bankruptcy Twice?

  • David M. Offen,
  •   Bankruptcy
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File Bankruptcy Twice?

What happens if I file bankruptcy twice? There is no legal limitation on the number of times you can file for bankruptcy. However, a certain period of time must elapse before a second (or third, etc.) bankruptcy can be discharged. How long you must wait depends on the type of bankruptcy you previously filed, the type that you want to file now, and the final disposition of your previous bankruptcy. You will want to know what happens before you file bankruptcy twice or more.

Same Chapter FilingsFile bankruptcy twice

If your previous bankruptcy was a Chapter 7, and it was fully discharged, you cannot have another Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharged if it was filed less than 8 full years after your original bankruptcy’s filing date. Double check your filing date from your previous bankruptcy if you are not absolutely certain that 8 years have elapsed.

If your previous bankruptcy was a fully discharged Chapter 13, you must wait 2 full years from your original filing date before filing for a new Chapter 13. If your new Chapter 13 repayment plan is confirmed, you can proceed with your bankruptcy. However, you might run into challenges if the new repayment plan is denied, so you want to have your attorney make sure you have a confirmable plan before filing.

Different Chapter Filings

If you previously had a Chapter 13 discharged, and you now want to file a Chapter 7, you normally need to wait until 6 years have passed since your Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing. However, there are a couple of exceptions to this rule. If you fully repaid your unsecured debts under your previous Chapter 13, then the waiting period does not apply. Likewise, if you paid at least 70% of your unsecured debts and the court is convinced that you made your best, good faith effort to repay, then you might not need to wait for 6 years. It is important to seek advice from an experienced bankruptcy lawyer if you want to have the time limit waived before you file bankruptcy twice.

If your previous bankruptcy was a fully discharged Chapter 7, and you plan to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must wait until 4 years have passed since you filed for Chapter 7.  However, if your case is not confirmed, your case may get dismissed.  Before filing, you want to know that your case should get confirmed and this is something you will want to review with your bankruptcy lawyer prior to filing.

“Chapter 20”

In some isolated cases, it might makes sense to file what is more commonly known as a Chapter 20. This occurs when you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy immediately after receiving a Chapter 7 discharge. Although the Chapter 13 bankruptcy cannot be discharged, you might be eligible for bankruptcy protection while you work to pay off debts that are not dischargeable in a Chapter 7, such as certain back taxes. This is an extremely tricky area of the law. Whether you receive any benefits from this filing depends on your specific circumstances. Qualified and experienced legal representation is absolutely critical if you plan to try this unusual type of filing.

Dismissed or Denied Filings

If your previous bankruptcy did not go through, special waiting periods apply. How long you must wait depends on whether your bankruptcy case was dismissed or denied. In most cases, if your bankruptcy is dismissed, you can file again right away. However, if it was dismissed due to certain factors, such as your failure as a failure to comply with legal requirements, you might need to wait 180 days before you re-file. A prior dismissal could also affect the automatic stay of collection efforts that normally accompanies a bankruptcy filing. If your previous bankruptcy resulted in a denial of final discharge, you are generally eligible to file again immediately.

Filing for bankruptcy is  complex, and legal waiting periods make subsequent bankruptcies even more complicated than first bankruptcy filings. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can walk you through the laws and regulations that govern your particular case. He or she can help you choose  the type of bankruptcy to file that will make the most sense for you. The attorney can explain this complex area of the law in simple terms so that you will be able to completely understand what happens if you file bankruptcy twice.

If you are ready to take the first steps toward financial freedom, call The Law Offices of David M. Offen today at (215) 625-9600 to schedule your free initial consultation. We’re here to help you every step of the way.

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