Unless ordered otherwise by a court, there are no limit on the number of times you can file for bankruptcy, but there is a limit on how often your debts can be discharged. If your debts have been discharged already, you often must wait a certain amount of time before debts can be discharged. Whether your debts can be discharged, however, depend on:
- When you last filed
- The type of bankruptcy you filed before, and for which type you are currently filing
- Whether the previous bankruptcy was dismissed or discharged
Following a Chapter 7 Discharge
- Chapter 7: To file for another Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must wait 8 years before you are eligible for another discharge.
- Chapter 13: To file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy following a Chapter 7 discharge, you must wait 4 years before you are eligible for a discharge.
Following a Chapter 13 Discharge
- Chapter 7: To file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy after a Chapter 13 discharge, you must wait 6 years before you are eligible for another discharge. This may be excused if you have already paid the unsecured creditors 70 percent or more of what is owed.
- Chapter 13: To file for another Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must wait 2 years before you can be eligible for another discharge.
How the Bankruptcy Was Handled
- Bankruptcy Discharge Denied: If you discharge is denied, you are able to file again, however, the same debts you previously filed for might not be discharged.
- Bankruptcy Dismissed: If your bankruptcy case was denied, you are able to file again, but may have a 180-day waiting period.
- Bankruptcy Dismissed with Prejudice: If your previous bankruptcy was dismissed with prejudice, the courts may prohibit you from filing for another bankruptcy for a period of time.
If Discharge is Not an Option, Why File for Bankruptcy?
For most people, the main reason for filing bankruptcy is for discharge. If discharge is not an option, however, filing for bankruptcy can still be helpful. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, even if the debts are not discharged, you can usually make court-approved payments to your creditors that are significantly less than without having filed for bankruptcy. A payment plan may not fix the situation, but it can definitely take some of the pressure off of repaying debts.
If you are attempting to file for bankruptcy again, you should contact an experienced bankruptcy lawyer Melbourne, FL residents rely on. They can help review your case and present it to the courts.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Law Offices of Arcadier, Biggie & Woods for their insight into bankruptcy.