How often can you file bankruptcy? The answer varies, depending on what type of bankruptcy you want to file and what type you have filed in the past. You will also need to review the timing of your past bankruptcy and how it was resolved. That’s because what really matters is not when you last filed bankruptcy, but when you last received a bankruptcy discharge.
If you have filed bankruptcy in the past, a Jacksonville bankruptcy attorney can help you determine whether you are eligible to file another bankruptcy. Call The Law Offices of Diane Anderson today to learn more.
Obtaining a Bankruptcy Discharge
Typically, the goal with bankruptcy is to obtain a discharge and eliminate most of your debt. In cases involving personal bankruptcies, most debt is discharged after a limited amount is paid to creditors. This allows the individual to pay what they are able and discharge the rest.
Once you obtain a bankruptcy discharge, you may be debt-free. However, medical issues, unemployment, divorce, and other unexpected issues can leave you in further debt. Bankruptcy may appear as an option. But how soon can you file and get another discharge?
How Long After a Discharge Can You Receive Another?
Two factors limit your ability to obtain another bankruptcy discharge:
- Did you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
- What was the disposition of your previous bankruptcy?
The federal government limits the amount of time between a bankruptcy discharge and filing of a new one depending upon what type you are filing. For example, you must wait:
- 8 years after a Chapter 7 discharge to file a new Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
- 6 years to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy after a previous Chapter 13 discharge.
- 4 years to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy after a previous chapter 7 discharge.
- 2 years after a Chapter 13 discharge before filing a new Chapter 13 case.
The time begins running on the day of your discharge. It ends on the day that you would file your new case.
There is an exception to this in Chapter 13 cases. If you have completed your payment plan prior to your three to five year deadline, then you may refile another Chapter 13. Additionally, if you made a good faith effort to pay your creditors, there may be a deviation. A bankruptcy attorney can help you understand exactly how long you must wait before filing a new bankruptcy after you obtained a discharge in your previous one.
Filing a New Bankruptcy If Your Previous Case Was Dismissed
What if your previous Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case was dismissed instead of discharged? In fact, the outcome of your previous bankruptcy case does impact your ability and time limit on filing a new case.
If your previous bankruptcy case was dismissed with prejudice, then you may have to wait at least 180 days to file a new bankruptcy case. A dismissal with prejudice often means that you disobeyed court orders, delayed the case in some way, or submitted multiple filings. For example, if you tried to abuse the system, then the bankruptcy court may have dismissed your case with prejudice.
If your previous bankruptcy case was dismissed without prejudice, then you may be able to immediately refile a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, regardless of what you filed in the past. If you initiated the dismissal, then you may refile the same day without any repercussions.
One effect of dismissals is that they often result in shorter automatic stay periods. An automatic stay is an order that protects you from legal actions against you while you engage in the bankruptcy process. However, that automatic stay may be reduced or even eliminated if the court feels you are filing and dismissing bankruptcy cases just to take advantage of the automatic stay. Your automatic stay may be reduced to as little as 30 days if you have one dismissal within a one-year time period. Multiple dismissals within the same year may result in no automatic stay.
Contact a Jacksonville CA Bankruptcy Attorney to Learn More
How often can you file bankruptcy? How often can you receive a discharge? For answers to questions like these, speak to a Jacksonville CA bankruptcy attorney. Contact The Law Offices of Diane Anderson today.