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.

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.

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.

Get a free, confidential bankruptcy evaluation. Learn More
Get a free, confidential bankruptcy evaluation. Learn More
How Many Times Can You File Chapter 13?

References

Related articles

How to Reduce Your Mortgage in a Chapter 13

When people file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, their debts typically exceed their monthly income and they can no longer pay their mortgage and other bills. Fortunately, in filing for bankruptcy protection, consumers can reorganize and pay down their debts and possibly reduce their overall mortgage liability.

Can You File Chapter 7 When Bills Are Current?

Bankruptcy can help you get a fresh start financially by erasing, or discharging, some of your debts or giving you time to pay them. Federal laws determine qualifications and procedures for filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and these laws do not require you to be late on your bills before you file your bankruptcy petition.

Defaulting on Chapter 13

Chapter 13 is called a wage earner's bankruptcy for a reason -- you need enough disposable income each month after paying your living expenses to fund a repayment plan through the bankruptcy trustee. You must give him your extra money each month for three to five years, and he apportions it among your creditors. In exchange, your property is not subject to liquidation. If you fail to make your payments to the trustee, however, you could find yourself right back in the situation you were in before you filed for bankruptcy protection.

Related articles

Rules for Filing a Second Bankruptcy

Depending on the type of second bankruptcy you want to file, there may not be a waiting period or a waiting period of ...

How Long Is an Automatic Stay After a Chapter 13 Dismissal?

Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy creates a repayment plan that allows you to catch up on debt by making monthly ...

Difference Between Bankruptcy Closing & Dismissal

When your bankruptcy case comes to an end, it is said to have closed, but how it closes could have a significant impact ...

Can I File for Chapter 13 If My Chapter Seven Is Dismissed?

You can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy after your Chapter 7 is dismissed, but it cannot be done right away. You may also ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED