How Often Can You File For Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a tool for people who need to rein in their financial circumstances. However, some folks may end up in similar situations down the road after bankruptcy.

One potential remedy may be to file again. However, there are limits on how often you can file within so many years. The amount of time depends heavily on the nature and timing of your previous case. Let's examine three scenarios.

After Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

If you've filed for Chapter 7, you won't be able to petition again for 8 years. A Chapter 7 attorney will tell you, though, the clock starts from when you filed your previous case and not when the court granted relief. Likewise, you might be able to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy within four years of your Chapter 7 case.

Following Chapter 13

Here's where timing kicks in. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer may encourage a client who can't complete a repayment plan under Chapter 13 to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You can usually do this right away if you haven't completed the repayment schedule.

Things change, though, if you complete Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If a court discharged debts under Chapter 13, you may be able to file one year after the discharge date. Similarly, you may be able to file for Chapter 13 restructuring again within two years. You should always consult a Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney, though, before you decide how to proceed.

"Chapter 20"

Under specific circumstances, you may need to discharge certain debts under Chapter 7 and then restructure some debts under Chapter 13. Typically, people need to discharge their unsecured debts first. Once the court grants relief, they pursue Chapter 13 bankruptcy and restructure their secured debts. Oftentimes, this means restructuring a mortgage to keep a house. The idea is once they're relieved of the unsecured debt obligations, they can handle the repayment plan.

This sort of case moves very quickly from Chapter 7 bankruptcy to Chapter 13. In all the scenarios on this list, you should seek counsel. However, this one is the most complex, and it is by far the one where a lawyer will have to do the most work.

In terms of filing after completing a "Chapter 20" case, the rules apply as they would following a successful Chapter 7 case. That means 8 years to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy again and four years to file Chapter 13. 

For more information contact a company such as Ozment Law PA.