After you filed bankruptcy for the first time, you likely thought that it would provide you the financial relief you needed. Many people can get their debt under control through a single bankruptcy case. Yet, you might have accrued other debts – through no fault of your own – since your case’s discharge. Or, some of your debts might not have been eligible for discharge and you want to find a way to manage them. While there is no limit to the number of times you can file bankruptcy, you must understand how long you must wait since the last time you filed to do so again.
By filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will discharge most of your debts without having to repay them. In doing so, you will have to surrender any nonexempt assets you own to a bankruptcy trustee. Yet, the liquidation of these assets allows for a quick elimination of your debt, since the proceeds of their sale will repay your creditors.
If you have already filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy once, you cannot pursue another case in quick succession. You must wait eight years from the date you filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy case to do so again.
If you file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will satisfy your creditors through a monthly repayment plan. This plan, based on your disposable income, will help you pay off your debts over a period of three to five years. If you stick to the terms of your repayment plan, you could make it through Chapter 13 bankruptcy without surrendering any assets.
If you already filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy once, it is possible that some of your debts did not qualify for discharge. To manage their repayment, you may want to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy again. Yet, you must wait two years from the date you filed your previous case to do so.
You may want to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy if you have dischargeable debts that a previous Chapter 13 bankruptcy case did not eliminate. To do so, though, you must wait six years from the date you filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Yet, you may be eligible to have this waiting period waived if you repaid 100% of your unsecured debts in your Chapter 13 bankruptcy case. You could also have it waived if you repaid 70% of your unsecured debts and made good faith attempts to repay the rest.
Some people will file Chapter 13 bankruptcy right after their Chapter 7 bankruptcy case discharges. If you have debts surviving from Chapter 7 bankruptcy, structuring them into a Chapter 13 repayment plan can make them more manageable. Keep in mind, though, that your Chapter 13 bankruptcy case will not be eligible for discharge in this instance. If you want your Chapter 13 bankruptcy case discharged, you must wait four years from the date you filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy to proceed with it.
No one hopes to file bankruptcy multiple times. Yet, doing so may provide you the financial relief you need if you are buried beneath a mountain of debt. By consulting an attorney, you can determine your best option for managing it.