How Often May I File Bankruptcy?
How Often May You File Bankruptcy?
Prior to October 2005 and BAPCPA, you could file a chapter 7 bankruptcy and receive a discharge of debt once every 6 years. Before October 2005, there was no restriction on the frequency of filing chapter 13 bankruptcy. In the 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Act, Congress wanted to prevent frequent filing of bankruptcy. As a result, effective October 17, 2005, restrictions on repetitive filing and obtaining a discharge in bankruptcy were tightened, as follows:
After filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy and receiving a discharge, one must wait 4 years to file a chapter 13, or 8 years to file a chapter 7. The time period between bankruptcies is measured from the date the case is filed with the court. For example, if you filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy case on January 1, 2013, and received a discharge of debt, you would not be allowed to file another chapter 7 bankruptcy case until January 1, 2021.
After filing a chapter 13 bankruptcy and receiving a discharge, one must wait 6 years to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy, or 2 years to file another chapter 13 bankruptcy. Once again, the time period between bankruptcies is measured from the date of case filing. Since chapter 13 plans are a minimum of 3 years and a discharge is not granted until completion of the chapter 13 plan, you could file another chapter 13 case, immediately after receiving the discharge.
It is also important to note that the restrictions on frequency of filing bankruptcy and receiving a discharge are imposed only when a discharge was ordered in the prior bankruptcy. If a bankruptcy case is dismissed before discharge of debt, another bankruptcy case may be filed immediately.
However, there are also new limitations imposed upon those who file more than one bankruptcy case within the same year when a previous bankruptcy case was active. These limitations are intended to prevent certain abuses, such as people who would file a bankruptcy to stop a foreclosure, allow that case to be dismissed, and then file another bankruptcy once the foreclosure has been started again.
The bankruptcy laws restrict the frequency of filing bankruptcy and obtaining a discharge. And the law penalizes people who take unfair advantage of the privileges of filing bankruptcy.
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The statements of law made here are general statements of law, effective at the time published and subject to change from time to time. These statements are not intended, nor may they be construed, to be applicable to any particular set of factual circumstances nor to any particular person. I recommend that all readers seek the assistance and advice of an experienced bankruptcy lawyer for guidance in their particular circumstances.
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