How Often Can You File for Bankruptcy?
The law allows you to file for bankruptcy as often as necessary, but you must wait a specific period between filings. Besides, how often you can file depends on the type of bankruptcy in question. Understanding bankruptcy rules and how often you can file can be complex, but skilled West Virginia bankruptcy lawyers can provide legal guidance.
Are There Limitations on How Often I Can File for Bankruptcy?
Working to improve your credit history after filing for bankruptcy is crucial. However, sometimes debt may become overwhelming, with your last resort being filing a repeat bankruptcy. Your eligibility to file a new bankruptcy petition depends on the designated waiting limits between each bankruptcy and whether your previous case was successfully dismissed.
Rules on Bankruptcy Waiting Periods
Waiting periods only apply if the court successfully discharged your debt when you filed for bankruptcy. A discharge releases you from the responsibility of the debts included in the bankruptcy case. So, you don’t have to wait to apply if the case was dismissed and the debts were not discharged.
In such a situation, you can apply for bankruptcy a subsequent time as long as none of the following has happened within the past 180 days:
- You didn’t show up for a court session, causing your case to be dismissed
- You disobeyed court orders, leading to the dismissal of your case
- You obtained voluntary case dismissal
If any of these circumstances apply to your case and you believe the circumstances were beyond your control, consult skilled Martinsburg Chapter 7 Bankruptcy attorneys for legal counsel. They can assess your case and advise on the steps you can take.
What Are the Waiting Times Between Bankruptcy Filings?
One factor that determines how long you have to wait before filing for bankruptcy again is the type of bankruptcy you filed in the previous case:
You can have the quickest form of debt relief when filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The plan doesn’t require completing a repayment plan before getting a bankruptcy discharge. However, the wait time is longer between the first case and the next, with a waiting period of 8 years after filing the first case.
You may also file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy if your previous case was based on Chapter 7. In this case, the waiting period is four years after receiving a Chapter 7 discharge. If you file before the period is over, you will not be eligible to receive a complete Chapter 13 discharge. Filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can enable you to pay off tax debts not cleared after the Chapter 7 case.
After filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, you must wait two years before filing another case. However, the situation can be tricky to maneuver, given that the minimum period for a Chapter 13 repayment is three years. Talk to experienced Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers in Charles Town if unforeseen hardships hit and necessitate a second filing.
If you wish to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy after a Chapter 13 case, the following rules apply:
- There’s no waiting period if you paid all the creditor claims in the previous Chapter 13 case.
- There’s no waiting period to file Chapter 7 after Chapter 13 if you paid 70% of all creditor claims in the previous Chapter 13 case. The last case must have been in a “good faith” proposal representing your “best effort.” At a minimum, you must use all your disposable income to pay creditors.
- There is a six-year waiting period for filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy after a Chapter 13 case if you didn’t pay at least 70% of the previous Chapter 13 case claims. If you’re eligible and meet this requirement, you can file for Chapter 7 within one year of Chapter 13 discharge.
What Happens if I File for Bankruptcy Multiple Times?
Apart from the limitation of the waiting period in filing a subsequent bankruptcy case, there’s no limit to how many times you can file. However, remember that filing multiple times could prolong the damage to your credit. The record can remain on your credit history for ten years from when you filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case and seven years for Chapter 13.
In other cases, filing multiple bankruptcy cases may prevent you from getting the protection of the automatic stay. That means you may not be protected from foreclosure, repossession, and wage garnishment. It’s essential to consult skilled Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys in Charles Town before filing multiple bankruptcy cases.
Can a File Another Bankruptcy Case After a Dismissal of the Previous One?
There is a difference between a bankruptcy case being dismissed and discharged. A discharge implies that you’ve met all the requirements set by the bankruptcy court. You’re no longer responsible for the applicable debts, and the case is closed, enabling you to get out of debt.
A dismissal means the case is closed, but your debts haven’t been eliminated. It’s as if you never filed a bankruptcy case, and your creditors can still come after you. While you can file again after a dismissal, how soon you can file depends on why the case was dismissed. For example, you must attend credit counseling within 180 days before filing again.
An Experienced Bankruptcy Attorney Providing Legal Counsel on Filing for Bankruptcy
Being in debt you cannot repay can be stressful, and your only option could be to file for bankruptcy. If your financial situation doesn’t improve and you’re still overwhelmed by debt, you may need to file again, but this comes with various requirements and implications depending on the type of bankruptcy you file. Skilled bankruptcy attorneys in West Virginia can help you weigh your options.
Our experienced and knowledgeable bankruptcy attorneys are dedicated and work hard to help clients understand their legal rights and options regarding bankruptcy. We know bankruptcy laws can be complex, and we want to help you rebuild your financial situation. Call Hinkle Law, PLLC, at (304) 944-0571 to schedule a FREE case assessment.