Can I File For Bankruptcy More Than Once?
May 4, 2022
Filing for bankruptcy is a complicated process, designed for those looking to get out from under laborious debt quickly. During your lifetime, there may be multiple times filing for bankruptcy would be in your best interest. That's when the rules about multiple bankruptcies kick in.
The Law Offices of David K. Blazek, P.C. has the skills and knowledge to guide and assist clients through the complexities of multiple bankruptcy filings. Their team can help you understand all of your legal options and provide the counsel you need when choosing which bankruptcy chapter is right for you. Their firm is proud to serve clients in Tampa, Florida, and the surrounding communities of Miami, Jacksonville, and Orlando. The firm is also licensed to practice in Georgia, serving clients in Atlanta, Macon, and Columbus.
Can I File More Than Once?
The short answer is yes. In fact, there are no limits placed on the number of times you can file for bankruptcy. The goal of most bankruptcy cases is to get forgiveness of debt obligations, officially termed “discharge.” There are other practical goals, of course, like stopping a foreclosure or prolonging a second mortgage, but the most common goal of filing a bankruptcy is to obtain a discharge. However, there are limits that apply to how often you can receive a discharge of your debts in bankruptcy.
Filing Under the Same Bankruptcy Chapter
If you have already filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will need to wait eight years to seek another discharge under Chapter 7. If you previously filed for Chapter 13, you will need to wait two years after you filed to file for another discharge under this chapter.
Filing Under Different Chapters
If you filed under Chapter 7 previously, in most cases, you can file under Chapter 13 four years after the Chapter 7 filing. Usually, if you filed under Chapter 13 previously, you can seek a filing under Chapter 7 six years after the Chapter 13 filing. There are some exceptions to the latter rule, including instances when a debtor paid off their unsecured debts entirely in the previous Chapter 13 filing. They may be able to file their Chapter 7 case sooner if they are able to prove that:
Their plan was proposed in good faith.
They made their best effort to keep up with the repayment plan.
They paid at least 70 percent of the claims under the repayment plan.
Refiling Bankruptcy After a Dismissal
Refiling for bankruptcy after dismissal will depend on exactly why your case was initially dismissed. If the court dismisses your bankruptcy case without prejudice, you can once again file for bankruptcy. This can typically be done immediately as you may need protection from creditor collection efforts. It is a misconception that if you have a case that was dismissed, you are not allowed to re-file.
Filing a new case is much like the process of filing your original case. However, you may need to resolve any issues that caused your first case to be dismissed before your second case can be filed.
You can usually file for another bankruptcy case immediately if your previous case was dismissed “without prejudice.” Unless you willfully disobey court orders or abuse the bankruptcy process, most bankruptcy dismissals are without prejudice. Courts rarely dismiss a bankruptcy case with prejudice.
While one of the most beneficial aspects of bankruptcy is the automatic stay on your debts, bankruptcy laws have limits on the automatic stay if you file for bankruptcy multiple times. For example, if a case is refiled within 12 months of dismissal, the automatic stay is limited to 30 days. However, if you have had two or more bankruptcy cases dismissed within 12 months of the current re-filing, an automatic stay will not be granted.
The Importance of Skilled Counsel
No one wants to go bankrupt, especially multiple times. However, the experienced team at The Law Offices of David K. Blazek, P.C.has the resources, skill, and diligence to help you navigate the complicated bankruptcy process. Contact their Tampa office today or reach out through their website to schedule a simple case evaluation.