If you’ve filed for bankruptcy in the past, typically the only restriction placed on filing another one is time. Depending on the type of bankruptcy you file for and the outcome of the case, that can range anywhere from a few days to up to 8 years. Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about filing for bankruptcy again.
Filing for Bankruptcy Too Soon
Technically, you can file for bankruptcy as many times as you want, with no restriction on time. However, if you file too soon, you won’t be able to get another discharge, which releases you from your debt. While simply filing for bankruptcy can lead to a cheaper payment plan, it’s not the way to go if you’re looking to clear your entire debt.
Filing for the Same Bankruptcy Chapters
- Chapter 7 to Chapter 7. If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and receive a discharge, you have to wait 8 years before you can file another Chapter 7 and receive another discharge.
- Chapter 13 to Chapter 13. You can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy just 2 years after having your debts discharged from a previous Chapter 13. Typically, Chapter 13 takes anywhere from 3 to 5 years to wrap up, so you can possibly file for another one right after your first one closes.
Filing for Different Bankruptcy Chapters
- Chapter 7 to Chapter 13. Typically known as a Chapter 20 bankruptcy, you can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy 4 years after a successful discharge from a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You can file sooner, even if you don’t get a second discharge, because it can help you get caught up on mortgage or loan payments.
- Chapter 13 to Chapter 7. If you are given a discharge from a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy 6 years later. An exception to the 6-year rule is if you pay all of your unsecured debt or 70% of the debt and your payment plan is proposed in good faith and with your best effort.
Filing for Bankruptcy After Case Is Dismissed
If your bankruptcy is dismissed, you can file for another one right after the dismissal, unless the court places a time restriction. You may also be prohibited from filing for another bankruptcy indefinitely if your previous case was dismissed with prejudice because of fraud.
Bankruptcy Court Time Restrictions
In addition to the timing rules mentioned above, bankruptcy courts can set their own time restrictions to prohibit you from filing another bankruptcy too soon. Limitations in Section 109(g) of the Bankruptcy Code allow courts to set a 180-day bar from filing another bankruptcy. This can happen for several reasons:
- A debtor voluntarily dismisses their case after filing a motion for relief from a stay.
- A debtor fails to appear in court.
- A debtor disobeys orders from the court.