07 Nov Not Sure If You Can File Bankruptcy Again?
You want to file bankruptcy but you are not sure if you are eligible to file again. There is a quick an easy way to see if you MIGHT be eligible to file and receive a discharge. On the top line of the image above choose the case that you have filed in the past. Then come down and choose the current case you wish to file on the left hand side of the image. This will provide you a preliminary idea of whether or not you may file another case and receive a discharge.
Is this a hard and fast rule? No, and that is why you should always contact a qualified bankruptcy attorney to seek legal advise if you are considering bankruptcy. Can you file even though you are not eligible for a discharge? It depends. Let’s stay you are being hounded by creditors and you want to stop them for a moment. Can you do that? Yes you can.
Let’s run through an example. Will you receive a discharge if you have filed a case and received one within the past 14 months? No, but the advantage of filing a new Chapter 13 even though you are not receiving a discharge is that you can pay what you can afford to pay to the unsecured creditors. Then later seek to either continue paying the debt at the end of the 3 to 5 year Chapter 13 or file a completely new case that qualifies for a discharge. Check with a local attorney as this is just an example and the law in your area may vary.
The key to the formula when determining if you are eligible for a discharge in a new case is whether or not you received one in your prior case. If your case was dismissed than the formula does not apply. So what is a discharge? The United States Bankruptcy Court defines discharge as:
A bankruptcy discharge releases the debtor from personal liability for certain specified types of debts. In other words, the debtor is no longer legally required to pay any debts that are discharged. The discharge is a permanent order prohibiting the creditors of the debtor from taking any form of collection action on discharged debts, including legal action and communications with the debtor, such as telephone calls, letters, and personal contacts.
Although a debtor is not personally liable for discharged debts, a valid lien (i.e., a charge upon specific property to secure payment of a debt) that has not been avoided (i.e., made unenforceable) in the bankruptcy case will remain after the bankruptcy case. Therefore, a secured creditor may enforce the lien to recover the property secured by the lien.
Many believe that filing a Chapter 7 or 13 is cut and dry or that it is just a form plead law. This is simply not true. There many advantages to filing a Chapter 7 or 13 that you may not be aware of. In that same notion if you are filing a Chapter 7 or 13 yourself (known as a “pro se” debtor) or filing with an attorney who does not know the bankruptcy code you just might be filing a case that is not eligible for a discharge.
Regardless of whether you receive a discharge, every time you file for bankruptcy relief the filing is reported to credit bureau. In turn each filing reflects initially in a negative way for your FICO score. These are strange and confusing times where everyone is looking to save any pennies they can. However filing bankruptcy without the advise of legal counsel may have dire consequences. Use the chart above to do a preliminary check of whether you might be eligible for an additional bankruptcy but do not end your inquiry there. Contact a qualified bankruptcy attorney so that you may take advantage of all the opportunities that might be available to you under the Bankruptcy Code.
Remember that knowledge is power. The more knowledge you have about whether or not you are eligible for a discharge, the more power you will have to determine whether or not filing an additional bankruptcy case is right for you.