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When Can I File Bankruptcy Again?

Time for Bankruptcy

Time for Bankruptcy

Based on circumstances, often outside of our control (medical debt, failed business, etc.), the need to file another bankruptcy may be present.  This article details the time requirements between successive bankruptcy filings.

A consumer is only eligible to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy and receive a discharge every 8 years, provided the consumer is otherwise eligible for a bankruptcy discharge (i.e. is able to pass the chapter 7 “means test”) .  Therefore, if all other eligibility requirements are met, a consumer who filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy January 21, 2006 will be eligible to file another chapter 7 bankruptcy  by January 21, 2014.   The key event is when the prior bankruptcy was actually filed; the clock counts down from this point.

What if you need to file bankruptcy, but you filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy less than 8 years ago?  A chapter 13 bankruptcy may be available as an option.  A consumer can file a chapter 13 bankruptcy 4 years after he or she files a chapter 7 bankruptcy for which a discharge was granted.

What if you filed a chapter 13 bankruptcy and received a discharge, and you are considering filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy after?  The wait period to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy and obtain a discharge is 6 years from the time a consumer filed a chapter 13 bankruptcy for which a discharge was granted, unless a consumer paid 100% of all debt in a chapter 13 bankruptcy, or at least 70% of all claims and the bankruptcy was filed in good faith.

Under certain circumstances, filing back to back chapter 13 bankruptcies or a chapter 7 bankruptcy followed immediately by a chapter 13 bankruptcy (known colloquially as a “chapter 20 bankruptcy”) may prove beneficial, despite a consumer not receiving a discharge in the second bankruptcy.  This strategy will be discussed at greater length in a future post, and only applies to some unique situations.

There have been many times where a client needs bankruptcy relief but filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy less than 8 years prior.  Often, I work with these clients and we file a chapter 13 bankruptcy.  My clients will receive the immediate relief they may seek (stop wage garnishment, seizure, etc.), and my clients will enter into a restructuring of their debt through the chapter 13 bankruptcy process.

If you have filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy less than 8 years ago, and you currently need bankruptcy relief, please feel free to call me today to set up a free in-office bankruptcy consultation to discuss your options.

Tom Butcher

Tom Butcher

Tom Butcher is the owner and attorney at Butcher Law Office, LLC. He represents clients in financial distress in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Tom offers a friendly, respectful, and compassionate experience for clients who are in financial and legal distress. Rather than taking a mechanical approach to filing bankruptcy for clients, like other bankruptcy firms, Tom strives to offer a personal, one-on-one experience, where the client’s situation is of utmost importance. Tom believes this personal attention keeps him connected to the community, and serves his clients best during their bankruptcy.
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