Can You File Bankruptcy Twice? It Depends

For honest debtors in difficult financial straits, bankruptcy offers a fresh start. This clean financial slate includes a discharge of many of your debts and the halting of collection efforts.  

But can you file bankruptcy twice?

Refiling might not bring you the benefits afforded by the bankruptcy law. Whether it does, depends on the previous bankruptcy case you filed, when you filed it, and how the original case ended. 

The Discharge

The main power of bankruptcy lies in the discharge of a filer’s debts. Upon completion of your bankruptcy case, you no longer stand responsible for most of your debts.

Debts That Are Not Discharged By Bankruptcy

– Federally-backed student loan – Domestic support obligations, such as alimony and child support – Debts that arise from embezzlement and acts of fraud, such as misrepresenting your income, financial condition, or other important facts on an application for a credit card, mortgage, or other personal loans – Certain taxes, but you may have income taxes discharged in a Chapter 7 case (see more on Chapter 7 below)

In most bankruptcy cases, the court will impose an automatic stop to any collection efforts when you file for bankruptcy. 

The Automatic Stay

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy If you filed a previous Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, you likely did so because you could protect all of your assets from being used to pay unsecured creditors. This is because a Chapter 7 case involves a liquidation, at least theoretically, of your non-exempt assets.

The Types Of Bankruptcies

The other Consumer Bankruptcy lies in Chapter 13, which provides for a discharge of most debts after you have completed a repayment plan. If you have to file a second Chapter 13 Bankruptcy or had to do so the first time, it was likely because you either failed the means test, had more property than you could exempt, or were behind on your mortgage and foreclosure was imminent already in process. 

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 followed by Chapter 7 -Eight years  Chapter 13 followed by Chapter 13 – Two year Chapter 7 followed by Chapter 13 – Four year Chapter 13, followed by Chapter 7 – Six years, unless you paid your unsecured debts in full in the Chapter 13 case, or you paid at least 70 percent of the claims filed by your credits in the Chapter 13 case, and you entered into the Chapter 13 plan in good faith.

Waiting Period For Multiple Bankruptcies

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