If you filed for bankruptcy relief in the past and received a discharge, you may be wondering if you can file bankruptcy again. Is there a limit to how many bankruptcies one person can file? If you can file multiple times, are there time restraints?
Generally, debtors are not limited to the number of bankruptcies they can file. However, if someone’s debts were effectively discharged in a previous bankruptcy, they cannot file a subsequent bankruptcy whenever they want. Instead, they are required to wait a certain period of time before they can file bankruptcy again.
Has enough time elapsed so you can file bankruptcy again? The answer depends on: 1) the type of bankruptcy you filed previously, 2) the type of bankruptcy you want to file now, 3) if your previous bankruptcy was discharged or dismissed, and 4) the date that you filed your last bankruptcy case.
Limits on Bankruptcy Discharges
- If your debts were discharged in a Chapter 7 and you want to file Chapter 7 again, you have to wait eight years from the date that you filed your last bankruptcy case before you can file Chapter 7 again.
- If your debts were discharged in a Chapter 13 and you want to file another Chapter 13, you cannot file another Chapter 13 until it’s been two or more years since the first Chapter 13 was filed. However, it takes 3 to 5 years to complete a Chapter 13 repayment plan; therefore, you should be able to file a second Chapter 13 once the first case is closed.
- If your debts were discharged in a Chapter 7 and now you want to file a Chapter 13, you can file a Chapter 13 four years after the previous Chapter 7 was filed.
- If your debts were discharged in a Chapter 13 and now you want to file a Chapter 7, you have to wait six years from the date the previous Chapter 13 was filed. However, there is one exception: If in the Chapter 13 you paid all of your unsecured debts, or if you paid 70% or more of your unsecured debts and you did your best to pay in good faith, the six-year rule does not apply.