Can You File Bankruptcy More Than Once?
If you have filed bankruptcy before you may be wondering how soon you can file for bankruptcy again. Read on to learn about the time limitations for receiving a bankruptcy discharge after you have previously received a discharge in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
The time frame as to when you can get a second discharge depends upon whether you filed a Chapter 7 or 13, whether you received a discharge (your debts were erased), or whether your bankruptcy case was dismissed. The time period is calculated from the filing date of your first bankruptcy petition, to the filing date of the petition in the second bankruptcy case. It is not measured from the discharge date of the first bankruptcy.
When A Discharge Was Granted In The First Bankruptcy Case
If Your First Case Was A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
To receive a second Chapter 7 discharge, you must wait eight years from the filing date of the previous Chapter 7 before filing the new Chapter 7 bankruptcy. To receive a Chapter 13 discharge, you must wait four years from the filing date of the previous Chapter 7 to file the Chapter 13.
If Your First Case Was A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
To receive a second Chapter 13 discharge, you must wait two years from the filing date of the previous Chapter 13 before filing the new Chapter 13 bankruptcy. To receive a Chapter 7 discharge (when the first discharge was received in a Chapter 13) you must wait six years from the filing date of the previous Chapter 13 to file the Chapter 7.
When The First Bankruptcy Case Was Dismissed And You Did Not Get A Discharge
If your first bankruptcy case was dismissed, unless the court orders otherwise, you can immediately file again and receive a discharge. A 180-day waiting period may apply if your case was dismissed for either failure to obey a court order or to appear in the case, or you voluntarily dismissed the case after a creditor filed a motion for relief from the bankruptcy stay. There may, however, be different rules in effect with regard to the bankruptcy stay.
Why Filing A Second Bankruptcy May Help You Even When You Cannot Get A Second Discharge
In some circumstances, you might still benefit from filing a Chapter 13 case immediately after getting a Chapter 7 discharge. This is usually called a Chapter 20 bankruptcy. This is because a discharge is not the only function of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. A Chapter 13 plan can also be used to pay both secured and unsecured debts over time, which does not depend upon getting a discharge.
Most importantly, a mortgage debt that is past due can be brought current in a chapter 13 over three to five years. This can occur even after a Chapter 7 discharge. Another reason to file a Chapter 13, even if you cannot get a discharge, is the opportunity to eliminate (“strip off”) a second or third mortgage from your real estate. This can only occur if you do not have any equity in your house above your first mortgage (i.e., your first mortgage is for more than your house is worth).
Talk To One Of Our Bankruptcy Lawyers At No Cost
As you can see, the rules about filing a second bankruptcy are complicated. Contact our experienced attorneys at Levitt & Slafkes, P.C., to discuss whether filing a second bankruptcy is right for you. You can reach us online by filling out our online form or by calling 973-323-2953. Our firm represents clients in New Jersey.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.