The need to file bankruptcy can arise more than once throughout the course of your life. Repeat filing is not uncommon. Once back on your feet, you may have ventured into self-employment or faced a devastating illness. Regardless of what path led you to need to seek bankruptcy relief more than once, it is important to know what relief is available to you a second or third time around.
While it may be an easier decision to make the second or even third time, it can still create anxiety and apprehension. The rules about refiling are complicated, and the ability to refile for bankruptcy depends on the type of bankruptcy you've previously filed:
- If you filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition in the past and received a discharge, you may file another Chapter 7 petition and obtain a discharge eight years after the date of your first Chapter 7 filing. You also may file a Chapter 13 petition and obtain a discharge four years after filing a Chapter 7 petition.
- If you filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition in the past and received a discharge, you may file another Chapter 13 petition and obtain a discharge two years from the date of your first Chapter 13 filing.
- In some cases you might wish to file a Chapter 13 petition even though you will not be eligible to obtain a discharge because not enough time has passed since a prior filing. One example is to give time to bring your mortgage current. A second reason is to "strip" a second mortgage if your home value is less than the payoff of your first mortgage.
If your prior filing did not result in a discharge, you may file again after 180 days from dismissal unless the dismissal was due to your willful failure to abide by orders of the Court to appear before the Court or you voluntarily dismissed after a secured creditor brought a motion seeking to recover property which secured a loan.
For cases filed as a Chapter 13 that are discharged, you cannot file a Chapter 7 thereafter for a period of six years. Like all complicated things, there are exceptions to this rule. If you paid back 100 percent of what you owed to unsecured creditors or paid at least 70 percent in a good faith effort, refiling is allowed.
When preparing to file for bankruptcy a second or third time, Hess & Jendro Law Office, P.A. can provide valuable information. Even though you have been through the experience before, having a skilled attorney who cares about your needs makes the process less intimidating.