I Need to File Bankruptcy Again, Can I?

by Jill Michaux, Esq.

September 28, 2009

If you have filed for bankruptcy before, you may be able to file again if you need to.  But, to determine if you can get another discharge in bankruptcy, you need to know the petition date and chapter of your previous case.

There is a myth that you can only file bankruptcy every seven years.  That probably stems from the Bible passages.  The truth is you can only receive a chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge every eight years.  The law used to be every six years, but the time was extended in the so-called reform of 2005.

Most courts count the time period from filing date to filing date.  So, if you wanted to file for a chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge now, you would have had to have gotten a discharge in a previous chapter 7 bankruptcy filed before September 27, 2001.

If eight years has not elapsed, but four years has gone by, you could get a bankruptcy discharge by filing a chapter 13, confirming and completing a chapter 13 bankruptcy payment plan.  You would have to be eligible to be a debtor in chapter 13 and you would have to pay three to five years of payments in most areas of the country.

Being able to get a bankruptcy discharge in more than one case has many requirements and variables, which you should discuss in detail with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to learn all your options.  One very important consideration is whether the automatic stay against collection would apply in the second case if you have had a previous case dismissed within the past year.
 

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Jill Michaux has helped Kansas consumers with debt problems for three decades. She and her partner, Mark Neis, are Topeka's only bankruptcy specialists, board certified in consumer bankruptcy law by the American Board of Certification. She help start the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.

Last modified: June 4, 2013