Filing for bankruptcy is never an easy thing. You have to provide the courts with quite a bit of financial documentation and information about your personal life. With a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may have to forfeit some of your assets and possessions. No one wants to go through the entire process again. Unfortunately, sometimes that is exactly what you find yourself facing. In this situation, it is imperative that you let your bankruptcy lawyer know about any previous filings.
Question we often hear are: Can I file for bankruptcy more than one time? How long do I have to wait to file bankruptcy a second time?
The answers are: Yes, it is possible to file for bankruptcy more than once. The amount of waiting time for the discharging of debts depends on the previously filed type of bankruptcy as well as the one you expect to file this time.
Filing for Bankruptcy After a Previous Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
If you are filing for bankruptcy after having previously filed Chapter 7, you may receive a subsequent discharge based on the following conditions:
- Filing Bankruptcy Chapter 7 again – after your first Chapter 7 bankruptcy is discharged, you must wait a total of 8 years before you can file for Chapter 7 again and have it discharged. If you file before the 8 years are up, your petition will be denied, and your debts will not be discharged. You will still be responsible for paying your outstanding debts. The 8 years of waiting begins the day you filed the original Chapter 7 bankruptcy, not the day it was discharged.
- Filing Bankruptcy Chapter 13 – following the discharging of a prior Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you only have to wait for 4 years if you want to file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy this time. Debts from medical bills, credit cards, and personal loans may be discharged if you complete the entire 4-year waiting period. If not, your unsecured debts will not be discharged, and you will still be responsible for the amount owed. Again, the time begins on the day you previously filed for your original Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Filing for Bankruptcy After a Previous Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
When contemplating filing bankruptcy after having a Chapter 13 bankruptcy discharged, there are also time limits to follow. You can receive a bankruptcy discharge if you meet the following qualifications:
- Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy – after the discharge of a previously filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must then wait 6 full years to receive a discharge from a subsequent Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The situation in this scenario is a bit more complicated. If you desire a full discharge sooner than the 6 years are up, you will need to have paid all your unsecured creditors a minimum of 70% of your prior Chapter 13 debts. If the required 70% of your previous debts to your unsecured creditors were not paid, you will not receive a bankruptcy discharge unless you wait the full 6 years from the filing date of the previous Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
- Filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy – the easiest scenario for someone who has previously filed bankruptcy and must do so again is to file back-to-back Chapter 13 bankruptcies. A person must only wait 2 years before filing for a subsequent Chapter 13 and having debts discharged. If the filing for the subsequent Chapter 13 bankruptcy takes place sooner than 2 years from the previous date of filing, the debts will not be discharged.
Our bankruptcy attorneys can help you understand what type of bankruptcy you may qualify for. Contact our office to schedule a consultation to determine the best option for your situation. Coral Springs attorneys Brodzki Jacobs & Brook are here to answer any questions about filing for bankruptcy. Call (954) 344-7737 for additional information.