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Law Offices of Stephen Orchard Law Offices of Stephen Orchard

How Often Can You File For Bankruptcy?


Many people want to keep the fact that they are filing or that they have filed for bankruptcy, a secret. That’s understandable, and a personal choice. But then there are the opposite type of people-the ones that not only brag about filing for bankruptcy, but they talk about how many times they’ve filed for bankruptcy.

But can you do that? Assuming you would even want to or need to…is it even possible to file for bankruptcy more than one time?

The answer is yes, you can file for bankruptcy more than once. However, there are some limitations, and a lot of time must pass between filing multiple bankruptcies.

Multiple Chapter 7 Cases

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, you must wait 8 years between filing for bankruptcy, assuming your first one was successful (that is, that you had your debts discharged in the first Chapter 7 case).

If your first Chapter 7 was not successful, and you did not receive a bankruptcy discharge (such as where your case was dismissed), you can refile your case at any time (although there will be no automatic stay, a big benefit in bankruptcy, when you refile your case because of a prior dismissal).

However, be aware that if you didn’t get a discharge because of a dismissal–say, you didn’t hand in required paperwork or documentation to the bankruptcy court–you will have to wait 180 days before you refile your case.

Filing Chapter 13

Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to refile your case much quicker–you can file a new Chapter 13 just two years after you file your first case.

This usually is not a problem, because Chapter 13 bankruptcy requires a payment plan of 3-5 years, so by the time the plan is finished, most people aren’t anxious to immediately refile a Chapter 13.

Combining Different Chapters One After the Other

Often, people will want to combine both types of bankruptcy. How long you have to wait depends on the order of cases.

You can do a Chapter 7 first, and then immediately file a Chapter 13 (known as a Chapter 20). However, when you do this in this order, and immediately after the Chapter 7 discharge, you won’t get a discharge of any debt in the Chapter 13, the way that you likely would, if you waited the required 4 years between filing the 7 and the 13.

If you do a Chapter 13 first, you will have to wait 6 years before you can file a Chapter 7.

Creditor Objections

Although it is rare, it does happen that a creditor objects to a filer’s bankruptcy, and that individual creditor is not discharged. If a creditor manages to survive your discharge because of a valid objection, you can never discharge that creditor, no matter how many times that you file. That’s why it’s important to review your bankruptcy case, to make sure there is no valid basis for creditors to successfully object.

We can help you in your individual bankruptcy case. Contact the Boca Raton bankruptcy attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Orchard at 561-455-7961 today with your bankruptcy questions.


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