How Often Can You File Bankruptcy?

Did you file bankruptcy several years ago? Are you in a position again where you are struggling to pay your debts and living expenses?  No one likes to think about filing bankruptcy; however, in some cases, it is the only way to provide debt relief to a person suffering from a financial crisis.  The financial crisis may be something that is completely unavoidable and out of the person’s control such as losing a job or getting seriously ill.  However, even if the individual caused the financial crisis through an abuse of credit or due to a lack of proper money management, bankruptcy is still an option.

Chapter 7 

When filing a second Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, you must have eight years between the filing date of the previous Chapter 7 case and the filing date of the new Chapter 7 case to be eligible for another bankruptcy discharge.

Chapter 13

If your debts were discharged in a previous 13, then you have to wait 2 years after the date the first case was filed.  If your case was dismissed and not discharged, you may be able to file again immediately but a motion to extend the automatic stay may be needed.

The United States Supreme Court made it very clear in the case of Local Loan Co. v. Hunt (1934) that filing bankruptcy is intended to give “to the honest but unfortunate debtor…a new opportunity in life and a clear field for future effort, unhampered by the pressure and discouragement of preexisting debt.”  It does not refer to why the debtor needed assistance; simply that he or she needs a “new opportunity.”

Unfortunately, some individuals need a second “new opportunity” because they experience events in their life that cause a second financial crisis.  When this occurs, filing a second bankruptcy may be the best option to resolve their debt problems.  Debtors can file multiple bankruptcy cases under the Bankruptcy Code; however, bankruptcy law limits the number of bankruptcy discharges a debtor may receive during a certain period.

In other words, you can file bankruptcy again but unless you wait to file until the time limit expires between cases, you will not receive a bankruptcy discharge. Since receiving a bankruptcy discharge is the ultimate goal of filing bankruptcy, it does not benefit you to file a second bankruptcy case unless the time between cases allows a second bankruptcy discharge to be granted.

Contact an Experienced Bankruptcy Attorney

If you are struggling with overwhelming debts, contact Weston Legal, PLLC to discuss your bankruptcy options.  You have options for dealing with your debt problems even if you have filed bankruptcy at some other point. We will help you find the solution that is best for you.

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