How Often Can I File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
There is generally NO LIMIT to the number of bankruptcy cases you can file. (Except in very rare cases where a bankruptcy court imposes a limit).
However, if you discharged debts previously in a bankruptcy there is a “waiting period” before you are entitled to another discharge.
In this article, our experienced bankruptcy lawyers discuss the general rules regarding bankruptcy filing waiting periods.
However, if you have previously filed bankruptcy, the best way to determine if you have met the “waiting period” for filing another Chapter 7 (or Chapter 13) Bankruptcy is to consult with one of our experienced Bankruptcy lawyers.
Determining when you can file another bankruptcy and receive a discharge is determined by:
- Whether you filed Chapter 7 (or Chapter 13) previously;
- Whether your last bankruptcy was discharged, or dismissed, or dismissed with prejudice; and,
- The exact date that you filed the prior bankruptcy case.
Waiting Periods for Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy:
Filed Chapter 7 Before – AND – Filing Chapter 7 Now
If you have previously received a discharge in a Chapter 7, you must wait eight years from the date you filed the previous case before you can file another Chapter 7 and receive a discharge.
Filed Chapter 13 Before – AND – Filing Chapter 7 Now
If your received a discharge in a prior Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you are required to wait six years from the date the Chapter 13 was filed before you can file for and receive a discharge in a subsequent Chapter 7 case.
However, there is quite a big exception to this rule. This six-year rule does NOT apply if, in the prior Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you:
- Paid back 100% of your unsecured debts; or,
- You paid back at least 70% of your unsecured debts AND your plan was deemed to be “proposed in good faith and your best effort”.
Filing Bankruptcy if Your Previous Case Was Dismissed With Prejudice
In addition to these waiting periods discussed above, the bankruptcy court can prohibit you from filing another bankruptcy case for a specific amount of time IF your prior bankruptcy case was “dismissed with prejudice”.
A bankruptcy case can be dismissed with prejudice if you:
- fail to obey court / judge’s orders,
- file multiple cases to delay creditors, or
- abuse the bankruptcy system in any way.
Typically a 180-day ban on refiling will be imposed if you willfully failed to obey court orders, or if you voluntarily dismissed your prior bankruptcy, after a creditor filed a motion for relief from the automatic stay.
Additionally, if you are caught hiding assets, lying on your bankruptcy papers, or otherwise committing fraud on the bankruptcy court, the bankruptcy judge can prohibit you from filing bankruptcy for a longer period of time – or forever prohibit you from discharging any debts that otherwise would have been discharged in the dismissed fraudulent case.
Best Southfield Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyers
We understand that calculating these waiting periods may be a bit confusing! If you have previously filed bankruptcy, the best way to determine if you have met the “waiting period” for filing a new Chapter 7 (or Chapter 13) is to consult with one of our experienced Bankruptcy lawyers.
Southfield Bankruptcy Lawyer Free Consultation: 248-357-3000