Can I file for bankruptcy more than once?
Many people are surprised to learn that they can file for bankruptcy more than once. In fact, there are no limits placed on the number of times you can file for bankruptcy. However, there are limits that apply to how often you can receive a discharge of your debts in bankruptcy.
In this blog, we will explain the timing limitations for repeat bankruptcy filings, whether you can re-file for bankruptcy if your case was dismissed and why you might want to file for bankruptcy even if your debts cannot be discharged.
The type of bankruptcy you choose to file affects how soon you can file again.
If you received a discharge in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must wait 8 years before you can file Chapter 7, again. If you received a discharge in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you cannot receive another Chapter 13 discharge for two years from the date you filed your first Chapter 13 case.
If you received a discharge in a Chapter 7, you cannot get a discharge in a subsequent Chapter 13 case unless you file the Chapter 13 case more than four years from the filing date of the Chapter 7.
If you received a discharge in a Chapter 13, you cannot get a discharge in a subsequent Chapter 7 case unless you file the second case more than six years from the filing date of the Chapter 13.
There are two exceptions to the above: 1.) If you paid all of your unsecured debtors in full during your Chapter 13, the waiting period is waived. 2.) A court may decide to waive the waiting period if you paid a minimum of 70% of the claims from the past Chapter 13 and the repayment plan was established and executed in good faith.
If your bankruptcy case was dismissed, you may file again unless the court says otherwise. For example, if your case was dismissed due to fraud. For all other purposes, your case may be re-filed after 180 days.
In certain situations, it makes sense to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, even if your debts cannot be discharged. A Chapter 13, allows you to make payments to the bankruptcy trustee under a repayment plan (typically over three to five years) that has been approved by the court. These payments are then distributed to your creditors by the bankruptcy trustee.
The established payment plan is oftentimes significantly less than what you were previously paying to your creditors outside of bankruptcy. We recommend this type of bankruptcy to clients who want to hold onto valuable property, who own their home and are at risk of losing it due to financial problems. This type of bankruptcy can be beneficial, allowing you the opportunity to get caught up on your mortgage and car payments, while avoiding foreclosure or repossession.
In a Chapter 13, you can eliminate a second mortgage. You can even possibly eliminate homeowner’s association fees that you owe. In Chapter 13, you can also bring a car down to fair market value – to what it’s really worth! There are some requirements that we can discuss during a free consultation.
If you have any questions on this topic or are struggling with insurmountable debt, let us help you. Life has a RESTART button. At The Benenati Law Firm, we have helped thousands of individuals and families eliminate their debt and get a fresh start financially. As a credit attorney, Walter Benenati uses his extensive knowledge of bankruptcy law to develop viable solutions for his clients' financial problems. We make our hours convenient for our clients and offer free consultations on Saturdays (9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.) and throughout the week until 5:00 p.m. If you are in a financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Orlando bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment and collection calls.