How Many Years Are Allowed in Between Filing Chapter 7?

By Beverly Bird

Federal law discourages debtors from filing for bankruptcy too easily. You can't make it a repetitive event, resorting to it whenever the chips are down. But the law also recognizes that sometimes bad luck comes in waves. You might catch your breath from one bad break, then another piles on. You can file for Chapter 7 a second time, but you must wait a while. How long depends to some extent on your circumstances.

Federal law discourages debtors from filing for bankruptcy too easily. You can't make it a repetitive event, resorting to it whenever the chips are down. But the law also recognizes that sometimes bad luck comes in waves. You might catch your breath from one bad break, then another piles on. You can file for Chapter 7 a second time, but you must wait a while. How long depends to some extent on your circumstances.

After Discharge

If your first Chapter 7 bankruptcy went as planned and your debts were discharged, you must wait eight years before you can receive another discharge. Discharge means your bankruptcy proceeding ran its course, reached completion, and you were relieved of any obligation to pay your debts. If your first bankruptcy was a Chapter 13, however, you must only wait six years, and if you paid off at least 70 percent of your secured debts through your Chapter 13 plan, this requirement may be waived. You only have to wait four years after a Chapter 7 discharge to file for Chapter 13.

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Dismissed Cases

The situation becomes less clear-cut if your Chapter 7 case was dismissed by the court so your debts were not discharged. If the court dismissed your case because you acted in bad faith, you can file again in six months, but you won't get the full benefit of the automatic stay that prohibits creditors from trying to collect from you while you're in bankruptcy. They can continue pursuing you for payment of your debts until your debts are discharged.

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How Many Times Can You File Chapter 13?

References

Related articles

What Does a Discharge in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Mean to Debtors?

Bankruptcy allows a debtor to obtain relief from his creditors if he meets certain legal requirements. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation of assets, while Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves repayment of some, or all, of the debt owed. If a debtor’s income is above the state median income and he has enough disposable income to repay his debt, Chapter 7 is not an option. In both types of bankruptcy, there eventually is a discharge of debt.

Will I Lose My Car if My Chapter 13 Is Dismissed?

Vehicles are one type of asset the court can address during Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but a dismissal won’t necessarily affect your ownership of a vehicle that has been paid off. Since the only creditor who can repossess your vehicle is the one who holds the loan on it, none of your other creditors can take your car. However, if your case is dismissed, you may have to sell some of your assets, including your car, to raise the cash to pay your remaining debts.

What Happens If You Include Your Home in Chapter 7?

When a homeowner files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, what happens to the home depends on various factors, including how much equity the homeowner has. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy wipes out all the debts that federal law allows you to include on the discharge, freeing you of legal responsibility for those obligations. You'll also get an automatic stay against your creditors when you file, which temporarily prevents the creditors from starting or proceeding with any collection actions. The automatic stay lasts until the case is discharged or dismissed.

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