When Once Is Not Enough: How Often Can You File For Bankruptcy?

For those with a bankruptcy in their past, new financial difficulties may have you wondering if you can file for bankruptcy again. The law generally allows people to file bankruptcy as many times as needed, but there are some time limitations to be aware of. Read on to learn more about how often you can file for bankruptcy.

Type of Bankruptcy Filing

Your most recent bankruptcy filing should be considered for the type: either chapter 7 or chapter 13.

  • If the most recent filing was a chapter 7, you can file again once 8 years from the discharge date of the last chapter 7 filing has passed.
  • If your most recent bankruptcy filing was for a chapter 13, you can file again after 2 years from the date of your most recent chapter 13 filing was discharged.
  • If you want to file a chapter 13 bankruptcy after a chapter 7, you can file once 4 years from the chapter 7 discharge date has elapsed. In some instances, your chapter 13 will need to be converted to a chapter 7, which can occur if the chapter 13 reorganization plan is not approved by the bankruptcy trustee. In that case, you must still wait 4 years from the time of your most recent chapter 7 filing.
  • If you want to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy after a chapter 13, you can file 6 years from the chapter 13 discharge date. However, there are exceptions to this rule that could allow a quicker chapter 7 filing. You could filer sooner if:
    • Your chapter 13 debt reorganization plan has resulted in a complete satisfaction of all unsecured debt.
    • Your chapter 13 debt reorganization plan has been at least 70% satisfied and a good faith effort to repay your debt has been demonstrated up to that point.

Chapter 20

Have you heard of a chapter 20 bankruptcy filing? If not, it's no surprise because it is not an official form of bankruptcy filing. A chapter 20 is the moniker attached to the method of filing a chapter 13 immediately after having a chapter 7 discharge. While filing that quickly would normally be against the rules, you can file for a modified chapter 13 which involves the reorganization of certain tax debts right after a chapter 7 discharge. If you owe the IRS, this type of filing could be perfect for you.

No Discharge

Regardless of what type of bankruptcy you filed, if you withdrew your petition before it became final, you may file again right away with no waiting period. If your case was dismissed by the bankruptcy courts due to misconduct, you must wait 180 days before trying again.

To learn more about when and how you can file bankruptcy, contact a bankruptcy attorney, such as Flippin Thomas C.