I filed bankruptcy several years ago and now I’m over my head in debt again. Can I file bankruptcy again?

11 Nov I filed bankruptcy several years ago and now I’m over my head in debt again. Can I file bankruptcy again?

I have recently seen a huge increase in inquiries from people who filed for bankruptcy some time back and are now over their head in debt again wanting to know if they can file bankruptcy again. Many of you may be thinking “Well, they shouldn’t have gotten in debt again.” And, they are saying the same thing to themselves – and to me. The answer all depends on when they last filed a bankruptcy. The Bankruptcy Code was amended in 2005 to change the time period between Chapter 7 filings from six years to eight years. However, a person can file a Chapter 13 within four years of filing a Chapter 7.

Another recent scenario is a person who filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy less than eight years ago and then filed a Chapter 13 but couldn’t keep up with the Chapter 13 payments. Can that person convert the Chapter 13 to a Chapter 7 since eight years have not elapsed? The answer is no.

Another common question is when do you begin counting the time period. It is the date of filing the previous case – not the date of discharge.

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Jay S. Fleischman is a bankruptcy lawyer with offices in Los Angeles and New York. He can often be found on Google+ and Twitter, where he shares information about consumer protection issues and personal finance.
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