There is generally NO LIMIT to the number of bankruptcy cases you can file. (Except in very rare cases where a bankruptcy court imposes a limit).
However, if you discharged debts previously in a bankruptcy there is a “waiting period” before you are entitled to another discharge.
In this article, our experienced bankruptcy lawyers discuss the general rules regarding bankruptcy filing waiting periods.
However, if you have previously filed bankruptcy, the best way to determine if you have met the “waiting period” for filing another Chapter 13 (or Chapter 7) Bankruptcy is to consult with one of our experienced Bankruptcy lawyers.
Determining when you can file another bankruptcy and receive a discharge is determined by:
- Whether you filed Chapter 13 (or Chapter 7) previously;
- Whether your last bankruptcy was discharged, or dismissed, or dismissed with prejudice; and,
- The exact date that you filed the prior bankruptcy case.
Waiting Periods for Filing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy:
Filed Chapter 13 Before – AND – Filing Chapter 13 Now
If your debts were discharged previously in Chapter 13, you cannot receive a discharge in another Chapter 13 unless this Chapter 13 is filed at least two years after the date the first case was filed.
Remember, it usually takes from 3 to 5 years to complete the repayment plan and get a discharge in Chapter 13 – so, you often can file another Chapter 13 be eligible for a discharge immediately after your first case is closed.
Filed Chapter 7 Before – AND – Filing Chapter 13 Now
Lastly, if your first discharge a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can file a new Chapter 13 and be eligible for a discharge if the new chapter 13 case is filed at least four years after the filing date of the prior Chapter 7.
Note that filing Chapter 13 after a Chapter 7 discharge can still help to pay off debts and/or get caught up on missed mortgage or car note payments – even if you are not entitled to an actual discharge.
When a person files Chapter 13 following their Chapter 7 discharge, it is sometimes referred to as a Chapter 20 bankruptcy!
Filing Bankruptcy if Your Previous Case Was Dismissed With Prejudice
In addition to these waiting periods discussed above, the bankruptcy court can prohibit you from filing another bankruptcy case for a specific amount of time IF your prior bankruptcy case was “dismissed with prejudice”.
A bankruptcy case can be dismissed with prejudice if you:
- fail to obey court / judge’s orders,
- file multiple cases to delay creditors, or
- abuse the bankruptcy system in any way.
Typically a 180-day ban on refiling will be imposed if you willfully failed to obey court orders, or if you voluntarily dismissed your prior bankruptcy, after a creditor filed a motion for relief from the automatic stay.
Additionally, if you are caught hiding assets, lying on your bankruptcy papers, or otherwise committing fraud on the bankruptcy court, the bankruptcy judge can prohibit you from filing bankruptcy for a longer period of time – or forever prohibit you from discharging any debts that otherwise would have been discharged in the dismissed fraudulent case.
Best Southfield Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyers
We understand that calculating these waiting periods may be a bit confusing! If you have previously filed bankruptcy, the best way to determine if you have met the “waiting period” for filing a new Chapter 13 (or Chapter 7) Bankruptcy is to consult with one of our experienced Bankruptcy lawyers.