When you file bankruptcy, you hope that this will be a once in a lifetime event. You’ll want to time your bankruptcy for the maximum benefit. With the new start that bankruptcy provides, you can do everything possible to live within your means and avoid debt, but sometimes, unfortunate circumstances that are out of your control can lead to getting into debt again. So what do you do? Will your creditors sue you? Will you be enslaved to that new debt forever? Or can you file bankruptcy again?
Whether you can file bankruptcy again or not depends on which chapter you filed and want to file, the status of the discharge, and also the timing of your case. If you file a Chapter 7, you may not file a Chapter 7 again for eight years from when your case was filed. You’ll need to wait two years to file a Chapter 13 after filing a prior Chapter 13. If you file another Chapter 13 two to six years after filing, and the trustee does not approve your case for some reason, you may be able to file a Chapter 7. In order for this to happen, you’ll need to have paid off all unsecured creditors in full from the original Chapter 13 or at least 70% if you can demonstrate that you made your best effort to pay it off completely. If you do not meet these guidelines, you’ll need to wait six years to file a Chapter 7 after a Chapter 13. If you file a Chapter 7 first, and then decide to file a Chapter 13, you’ll need to wait four years.
Even if you file a Chapter 7 first, then try to file a Chapter 13 but the debt is not discharged, you might still want to file. This is called a Chapter 20. You would benefit from the automatic stay for a period of time, which could give you the opportunity to get caught up on debt. If you’re considering this course of action, please give me a call. This may or may not benefit you, depending on a variety of factors.
If you filed previously and your debt was not discharged, you may file again at any point. If your case was dismissed, you may need to wait 180 days. If the discharge was denied, you may file again at any time, but unless circumstances have changed, your case is not likely to be approved.
Get Clarity From a Professional
No one really enjoys filing bankruptcy, and while it can be a lifesaver, most people would rather not have to deal with it more than once. But life happens to us all, and you never know when something might happen that could lead to more unmanageable debt. If you’re having trouble keeping up with bills but have already filed bankruptcy in the past, don’t lose hope. Call me so that we can discuss all the possible options and solutions.