Many times when a bankruptcy filer’s situation has not improved since the filing of a prior bankruptcy, it may become necessary to file another bankruptcy. If you are looking at the possibility of filing a second bankruptcy shortly after filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy or chapter 13 bankruptcy, the chart below will give you the timeline you must wait before being eligible to file again. Depending on the chapter of bankruptcy in which your previous case was filed, the chart will help you determine how much time needs to elapse before filing a new bankruptcy case.
What happens if you file another bankruptcy anyway?
In most cases, filing one bankruptcy before enough time has passed before filing another bankruptcy usually means filing a chapter 13 bankruptcy case. This is because the bankruptcy code dictates that if less than eight years have passed before filing consecutive chapter 7 bankruptcies, the U.S. Trustee may ask the court to deny any discharge for the second or most recently filed bankruptcy. You may file a chapter 13 bankruptcy, although the chapter 13 or the U.S. Trustee will likely ask the court to deny your discharge, you may still receive the bankruptcy protections needed, especially if you are trying to save a home from foreclosure, property from being repossessed, garnishments, or other creditor actions being taken against you. However, filing a chapter 13 bankruptcy means qualifying a feasible plan of reorganization and making a monthly payment to fund your bankruptcy. Even though you likely will not be able to get a discharge, getting that much-needed relief of knowing creditors will not be able to foreclose or take money or property away from you is enough to get started on a new or second bankruptcy.
Common challenges with not filing multiple bankruptcies properly
Sometimes people get caught up in a circle of filing multiple bankruptcies over a short period of time. Often this happens to people who file without an attorney and do not follow the strict bankruptcy code or procedures for filing a bankruptcy case. Here are some common scenarios we see:
- The court or the trustee will dismiss a case if these rules are not properly followed. If this happens, especially with multiple chapter 13 bankruptcies, tell your lawyer what you have done so that the lawyer can properly protect your property and protect you.
- Filing multiple bankruptcies may negate your protections and allow creditors to move forward as if there were no protections even though a bankruptcy case has been filed. You must go to the judge and ask for these protections to be reinstated and you must have a compelling reason for having filed multiple bankruptcy cases. The U.S. Bankruptcy code follows strict rules against allowing people to abuse the bankruptcy system.
- Anyone who tries to file multiple bankruptcy cases for the purpose of delaying or hindering creditor actions may be found to be abusing the system and may be forbidden from filing another case for a period of time. Be careful not to allow yourself to fall into this predicament.
When circumstances force contemplation of filing bankruptcy even though you have recently filed another bankruptcy, consult the chart below to see where you qualify. This chart only becomes relevant if you received a discharge in the prior-filed bankruptcy. If you did not receive a discharge in your prior bankruptcy, then there is usually no waiting period before filing another case. However, be careful as stated in the above paragraph about filing multiple bankruptcies within a short period of time. Keep in mind that your Glendale bankruptcy lawyer needs to know about any prior bankruptcies you have filed whether or not you received a discharge.
|Time Restriction||Bankruptcy Type
Chapter Filed Earlier
|Chapter to be filed||Explanation|
|2 Years||Chapter 13||Chapter 13||If the debtor filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy earlier and the debts were discharged, one will have to wait for two years from the time of filing the first case until one is eligible for another discharge. The reason behind this is that the full payment of a Chapter 13 case usually takes three to five years. But once the case is closed, a discharge can be handed to the debtor immediately in a second Chapter 13 case.|
|4 years||Chapter 7||Chapter 13||It is also possible to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy after having filed for Chapter 7 earlier. However, if the debts were discharged in the earlier case, one will have to wait for four years until the eligibility to file this second case. Usually, filing for Chapter 13 after Chapter 7 can help one to repay debts with high priority. Also, Chapter 13 can help the debtor to catch up with the repayment of mortgages and even car loans. This can happen even if the debtor is not eligible for a discharge. A successful filing of Chapter 13 after Chapter 7 simply goes by the name Chapter 20 bankruptcy.|
|6 Years||Chapter 13||Chapter 7||After having filed a Chapter 13 case earlier and received a discharge, filing for a Chapter 7 could be difficult but possible. It gets difficult specifically if you paid back all the debts that were unsecured in the previous case of Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Also, if the debtor paid back at least 70% of the unsecured debts in the previous case, this rule ceases to apply. However, if the debtor did not pay the unsecured debts in full, or did not pay back at least 70% of the debts, then one is eligible for a debt discharge in a Chapter 7 case, six years after having filed for Chapter 13.|
|8 Years||Chapter 7||Chapter 7||This rule applies when the debtor earlier applied for chapter 7 bankruptcy, and the same debtor wants to apply for another Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If the debt received a discharge in the earlier application, then the waiting period is eight years until one can receive another discharge.|
Need expert bankruptcy advice or services?
Filing bankruptcy is a difficult and stressful decision. The bankruptcy laws are complex and hard for anyone to understand. Do not file bankruptcy unless you have proper representation and have asked all the questions, so you know what to expect. Contact us here or call us at (623) 777-4760 now to schedule a free bankruptcy consultation for help with your case.