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Filing for Bankruptcy Again? Rules for Repeat Filing

Sometimes it may be necessary for someone who has already filed bankruptcy to file again later. Life can be unpredictable. Just when you’ve solved some major problems and put your life back on track, the world can hit you with a curveball. Maybe a divorce has left you with no money. Perhaps an illness has put you out of work while your medical bills pile up. Regardless of the reasons why you are having financial problems, the law provides you with solutions.

If you have previously gone through the bankruptcy process, you already know that it can make a huge difference and provide you with relief from your financial nightmare. But what happens when you need to file again?

As an American, you have the right to file bankruptcy more than once in your life. In fact, you can file as many times as you need to, as long as you wait the appropriate amount of time in between each filing.

Determining how long you have to wait can be complicated. Only bankruptcies that successfully resulted in a discharge count for these purposes. Time limits differ depending on which type of bankruptcy you are filing:

  • Chapter 13. If you are filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must wait until two years after the last Chapter 13 (for which debt was discharged) was filed. You must also wait four years from the date a previous (successful) Chapter 7 was filed.
  • Chapter 7. If you are filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must wait until eight years after your last successful Chapter 7 filing. You must also wait until six years after you filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy which resulted in a discharge of your debts. There are possible exceptions if you paid all of your unsecured creditors or paid back a certain amount of your debt.

These rules only apply when your previous filings resulted in the discharge of debt. Special rules may apply when your first bankruptcy did not result in a discharge of your debt. This comes into play when converting from one type of bankruptcy to another. While previous successful bankruptcies still count against time limits, current bankruptcies that have not discharged your debt do not count and can be converted.

For help understanding how time limits apply to you, contact DebtStoppers. Our Chicago bankruptcy attorneys help individuals and families get their financial problems under control. We offer a free one-on-one debt analysis to all potential clients. To schedule your free consultation, call us today at 800-440-7235 or contact us online.

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