Those with an overwhelming amount of consumer debt can file for bankruptcy to reduce or restructure the amount they owe to their creditors. Not without its drawbacks, bankruptcy is overall a life-changing experience that can improve the lives of those who are overpowered by debt. If you’ve received a debt discharge before, perhaps you’ve already experienced the relief that can come with reducing the burden of your financial obligations.
You may also be asking yourself if giving yourself a clean slate is something you can do only once – and if not, when can you file for bankruptcy again?
Time Restrictions & Multiple Bankruptcy Filings
You can file for bankruptcy multiple times throughout your life, and some people do. That said, there are some basic facts about applying for bankruptcy more than once in your life.
First, time restrictions don’t apply between filings, but from a discharge to a second filing. In other words, if you intend to seek a second debt discharge (and we imagine most people do) you must wait a certain period of time from your first discharge before filing your second bankruptcy case.
You can ignore this time period and complete a second bankruptcy case, but you won’t be eligible for a second debt discharge.
Time Restrictions When Filing for the Same Bankruptcy Chapter
Sometimes people require the same kind of financial relief they got with their last debt discharge, which means they’ll file for the same chapter of bankruptcy.
If you are filing for Chapter 7 a second time, eight years must pass from the last discharge you received before you can file again and hope for a second discharge. If you are filing for Chapter 13 a second time, you must wait two years before filing for it again to get a second discharge.
Time Restrictions When Filing for a Different Type of Bankruptcy
In other cases, people may need to file for a different chapter of bankruptcy than they did the first time. Time limits also apply between filing for two different types of bankruptcy.
If someone wishes to file for a Chapter 7 discharge after getting a discharge under Chapter 13, they must wait six years. If someone wishes to file for a Chapter 13 discharge after getting one under Chapter 7, they must wait four years.
What If My First Bankruptcy Concluded without a Discharge?
There are a number of reasons why your first bankruptcy case may conclude without a discharge, such as a case dismissal. If you didn’t get a discharge the first time you file for bankruptcy, you can file again and hope to get a discharge irrespective of when you filed your first case.
This is by no means guaranteed. If the court denied you a discharge in your first case, you probably won’t be granted one the second time around. You probably also won’t be granted a discharge if the court believes you’re purposely using bankruptcy to evade your creditors or lawful collection actions.
Do You Need Help with Bankruptcy?
Whether you are considering bankruptcy for the first time or have been through this process before, Nguyen Law Group can help. Our attorney has many years of experience helping clients navigate their bankruptcies and forge a path toward more financial freedom.