Am I allowed to file bankruptcy if I filed before?

If I filed bankruptcy before, does that effect my eligibility to file again?

There is a limitation on filing bankruptcy, but the time between bankruptcies depend upon which chapter was filed in the past and which chapter is being filed under this time.   Filing between cases also depends upon whether the case was concluded because it was dismissed or because the debtor received a discharge.  The time periods go from the date of filing of cases in which a discharge was received runs from the Petition Date (date case was filed) to Petition Date (date the second case is filed).  Some of the time limitations between cases that were completed and a discharge was granted are:

  1. A debtor must wait for 8 years between the filing dates of two chapter 7 cases.
  2. A debtor that is granted a discharge in a chapter 13 case, must wait 6 years before filing a chapter 7 case. Again the time period is calculated from the date of filing of the first case to the date of filing of the second case.
  3. A debtor  that filed a chapter 7 before can file a chapter 13 at any time after receiving a chapter 7 discharge, but the debtor will only be able to obtain a discharge of his or her debts if the prior chapter 7 was filed more than 4 years prior to the filing of the chapter 13.  In some instances, our clients elect to file a chapter 13 case even if they cannot receive a discharge because of a prior filing.
  4. A debtor can file another chapter 13 case if the prior chapter 13 case was filed more than two years before the filing of the second case.  Since a discharge is rarely granted in a chapter 13 case in less than 3 years, it is very unlikely that someone would be filing a second chapter 13 case less than 2 years after the prior case was filed.

As stated above, the above rules apply when a discharge has been granted in the prior case.  If a prior case was dismissed, there can be a 180 day bar from filing another case in two situations:

  1. The debtor voluntarily dismissed his/her case after a request was made by a creditor to terminate the Automatic Stay.   The request is generally called a motion for relief from stay or a motion to lift the automatic stay.
  2. The debtor’s case was dismissed because of his/her refusal to comply with an order of the bankruptcy court.

Our staff can help you determine what type of bankruptcy can be filed by you and what relief can be obtained if you have filed a bankruptcy case within the past 8 years.

2 Comments

  1. Tracie
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    If I have filed a Chapter13 and still in a Chapter 13 Can I change it to a chapter 7?

  2. robert
    Posted February 15, 2015 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Tracie,

    There are so many variables, it is impossible for me to tell you that you can convert your case from a Chapter 13 case to a case under Chapter 7. However, I can tell you some factors that may limit your ability to convert your case.

    1) If you filed a chapter 7 case in the 8 years prior to the filing of you chapter 13 case and you received a discharge in the prior chapter 7, then you cannot receive a discharge in the current case if you convert the case to a case under chapter 7.
    2) If you are paying a loan on a car or home in you chapter 13 case, then you may be so far behind in the payments under the loan agreement under its original terms, then converting the case will result in the repossession of the auto or foreclosure on the home by the creditor that holds the lien.
    3) Some debts are dischargeable in chapter 13 cases, but not dischargeable in chapter 7 cases.
    4) You must qualify for a chapter 7 to convert under the same rules that would have allowed you to file a case under chapter 7 originally. If your income and expenses would not allow you to file a chapter 7 and receive a discharge causing your case to be filed under chapter 13, then you will have the same problem if you convert your case unless your income has reduced or your expenses have increased enough to qualify you for a chapter 7 at the time that the conversion is filed.

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