How Many Times Can You File Bankruptcy in Illinois?
Updated on 29 November 2023
Filing for bankruptcy isn’t something that anyone ever expects to have to do. But when hard times arise, it may be the best option for you and your family. If your financial obligations are piling up, and it feels like there’s no way out, bankruptcy can be the light at the end of the tunnel.
A common question is how many times you’re able to file in Illinois, and how often. It’s important to understand Illinois laws if you decide that filing is the best choice for you. While it’s possible to file on your own, it’s strongly recommended that you use an experienced lawyer to assist you.
How Often Can You File Bankruptcy In Illinois?
Many people don’t know that there is actually no limit on the number of times you can file for bankruptcy. This doesn’t mean it should be the solution every time you’re in financial trouble, but if you find yourself in a situation multiple times where the bankruptcy process seems to be the best option, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Just keep in mind that there are other conditions and requirements that must be met when determining how many times and how often you can file.
Conditions And Requirements
While there are no rules restricting the number of times you can file in Illinois, there are other qualifications that must be met before you can declare bankruptcy for a second time.
For instance, you must receive credit counseling from an approved agency within 180 days before filing.
Additionally, to file Chapter 7 in Illinois, your income cannot exceed a certain level. To qualify, you must pass what the “means test,” which evaluates your income records and your expenses. If your household and disposable incomes are too high, you won’t qualify for Chapter 7.
While there is no limit on how many times you can file for bankruptcy in Illinois, there are required waiting periods. These waiting periods will vary depending on the type you filed last and which type you want to file now.
In most cases, the following waiting periods apply:
- 7 to 7: 8 years
- 7 to 13: 4 years
- 13 to 13: 2 years
- 13 to 7: 6 years
What Are The Consequences?
It’s important to note that filing for bankruptcy will initially lower your credit score. And while the filing will stay on your credit report for up to 10 years, many people actually improve their credit long-term by filing.
Many people who file for bankruptcy in Illinois have been paying their debts late for a while and often have severely delinquent accounts. In other words, their credit scores are already low. That’s why our clients often see their scores dramatically increase after they discharge their debts.
While there are some negative consequences to filing, the positives usually outweigh the initial hit to your credit. It can take time for your credit score to recover, but bankruptcy is often the best way to get back on your feet.
The skilled Illinois lawyers at DebtStoppers are ready to answer your questions. Even if you are unsure if you qualify or still deciding if it’s right for you, schedule your free no-risk consultation today to discuss your options with a member of our team.
Understanding Illinois Bankruptcy Chapter 7 Filing
Filing for bankruptcy Chapter 7 in Illinois can be a suitable option for individuals facing financial hardships. This type of bankruptcy allows you to eliminate a majority of your unsecured debts, providing you with a fresh financial start. However, it's essential to understand the process and requirements before filing for Chapter 7 in Illinois to ensure you make the best decision for your financial situation.
Eligibility for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Illinois
Before filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Illinois, you must meet specific eligibility criteria. One of the primary requirements is passing the "means test." The means test compares your income with the median income for a household of your size in Illinois. If your income is below the median, you qualify for Chapter 7. If your income is above the median, you may still qualify, but additional calculations are necessary to determine your eligibility.
Exemptions in Illinois Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
When filing for bankruptcy Chapter 7 in Illinois, state exemptions play a crucial role in determining what assets you can protect. These exemptions can include your home, car, personal property, and retirement accounts, among others. It's essential to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to understand how these exemptions apply to your specific case and protect your assets effectively.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process in Illinois
The process of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Illinois involves several steps. First, you must complete credit counseling from an approved agency within 180 days before filing. Next, you will need to gather all necessary documentation, including income records, asset information, and a list of your debts. With the assistance of an attorney, you will complete the required bankruptcy forms and submit them to the bankruptcy court.
After filing, an automatic stay will be issued, preventing creditors from pursuing further collection activities. A bankruptcy trustee will then be assigned to your case, and a meeting of creditors will be held, where you may be required to answer questions about your financial situation. Finally, if you meet all requirements, the court will discharge your eligible debts, allowing you to move forward with a clean financial slate.
Seek Professional Guidance for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Illinois
Filing for bankruptcy Chapter 7 in Illinois can be a complex process, and it's essential to seek professional guidance from an experienced attorney. They can help you navigate the process, understand your options, and ensure you make the best decision for your financial future. If you're considering filing for bankruptcy in Illinois, reach out to a reputable bankruptcy lawyer to discuss your situation and receive the support you need.