2, 4, 6, 8, How Long Must I Wait? To File Bankruptcy

by Eugene Melchionne, Esq.

April 30, 2011

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You’ve had to file bankruptcy before, but now you need that emergency relief again.  How long do you have to wait between bankruptcy cases?  It used to be that the rule was simple; you only had to wait 6 years between Chapter 7 cases.  Now there is a more complicated rule of 2, 4, 6, 8.

The Two Year Rule

If you received a discharge (completed the payment plan) in a previous Chapter 13 case, you  must wait two years before filing another Chapter 13 case or you will not get a discharge in the new case.  This is tricky stuff because there is a line of thought and some authority to say that if you do not need a discharge in the new case, but only need time to stretch out your current obligations, then you don’t need to worry about this restriction because you are not looking to discharge anything.  That would mean you could file another Chapter 13 case immediately after receiving your discharge in the prior case.  [For those seeking the statute on this, look at 11 U.S.C. 1328(f)(2)]

The Four Year Rule

If you received a Chapter 7 Discharge in a previous case, then you must wait 4 years before filing a new Chapter 13 case.  Again, if you don’t need a discharge in the new case, but intend to pay 100% of your creditors over the life of the plan, you don’t need to wait 4 years.  [The statutory section is found at 11 U.S.C. §1328(f)(1)]

The Six Year Rule

You must wait 6 years between the filing of a previous Chapter 12 or 13 case and a new Chapter 7 case.  Unlike the previous sections this is important because you don’t file a Chapter 7 unless you are looking for a discharge.  Now as with everything Congress does, there are exceptions.  If you paid 100% of your debts in the previous Chapter 12 or 13 case or paid at least 70% of your debts in those cases and the Court found that this was your best effort, then the 6 year rule does not apply.  You can file Chapter 7 right away and get a discharge if you otherwise qualify.  [11 U.S.C. §727(a)(9)]

The Eight Year Rule

You must wait 8 years between Chapter 7 cases.  The previous rule was six years, but has been extended to 8 years in 2005. However, this may be the time to consider a Chapter 13 as there are many hidden benefits to a budget plan than you might think. [11 U.S.C. §727(a)(8)]

 

Image courtesy of JoeShlabotnik

“ConnecticutGene Melchionne is a bankruptcy lawyer covering the entire State of Connecticut. He can often be found on Google+ and Twitter, where he shares information about consumer protection issues and personal finance.

“ConnecticutGene Melchionne is a bankruptcy lawyer covering the entire State of Connecticut. He can often be found on Google+ and Twitter, where he shares information about consumer protection issues and personal finance.

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Last modified: November 19, 2013