Filing Bankruptcy for the Second Time

Can You File for Bankruptcy More than Once?

You may have filed personal bankruptcy with the best of intentions, hoping to put your financial challenges behind you. Circumstances can change that, though—you may experience injury or illness without adequate insurance, or you may lose your job at a difficult time. Fortunately, you can seek bankruptcy protection more than once. There are some restrictions, though.

Under the federal bankruptcy laws, you may not receive a discharge in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding for at least eight years after the date of a prior Chapter 7 discharge. You may, however, seek to reorganize your debt under Chapter 13 after only four years, if your prior discharge was in Chapter 7.

If you reorganized your debt under Chapter 13, you can file another reorganization petition after just two years. However, if you want to obtain a discharge in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding after reorganization in Chapter 13, you must wait at least six years.

These rules, however, apply to discharges rather than filings. The bankruptcy law does not prohibit your from filing a bankruptcy petition immediately after a discharge in bankruptcy—you just can’t obtain a second discharge in bankruptcy before the specified time period has elapsed. For example, many debtors file and complete a Chapter 7, permanently discharging some of their debts. However, once the bankruptcy proceeding is complete, they may start receiving harassing calls and letters from creditors who were not discharged. The debtor may then file a Chapter 13 petition to invoke the provisions of the automatic stay.

Contact John Hargrave and Associates

We have provided comprehensive counsel to individuals in and around Barrington, New Jersey, since 1977. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact our office by e-mail or call us at 856-547-6500.