Life happens. While the statement may sound cliche, it’s true. Circumstances can change without notice. When they do, it could affect your financial wellbeing. If you’ve filed for bankruptcy previously and find yourself facing financial strain again, you’re probably wondering if there’s a limit on how many times you can file for bankruptcy.
How Often Can I File for Bankruptcy?
You’re not precluded from filing for bankruptcy just because you’ve filed for bankruptcy previously. In fact, there aren’t any limits on how many times you can file for bankruptcy. You could technically file for bankruptcy as many times as you want.
After you file for bankruptcy, you must wait a particular amount of time before you file again, depending on the type of bankruptcy you filed previously. The clock on how long you have to wait to file for bankruptcy again starts on the date you filed for your previous bankruptcy.
If you previously filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you have to wait eight years to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy again, and you have to wait four years before you can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
If you previously filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you have to wait six years to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and you have to wait two years before you can file for another Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Are There Any Exceptions to the Time Limits Between Bankruptcies?
You can file for bankruptcy whenever you choose, even if the appropriate time hasn’t passed, but to have your debts discharged you must abide by the time limits.
If your previous bankruptcy didn’t result in a discharge, these time limits may not apply. In some cases, the court may dismiss a bankruptcy case, or the court may deny a filer’s request to discharge their debt. This could happen if they’ve omitted assets from their bankruptcy or violated a court order, for example.
Depending on the reason your previous bankruptcy was dismissed, you may have to wait six months (180 days) to file for bankruptcy again. In some cases, you may be able to file for bankruptcy again as soon as the next day. You would, however, likely only get minimal protection from an automatic stay in your case. An automatic stay is typically granted from the time you file for bankruptcy, and it bars creditors from trying to collect debts from you during the bankruptcy. If you file for bankruptcy again less than a year after a previous bankruptcy dismissal, you’ll only receive the protection of an automatic stay for 30 days.
If you received a denial from the court for your previous bankruptcy, it can affect the debts that can be discharged. When you next file for bankruptcy, you may not be able to have any of the debts included in the previous bankruptcy discharged in the new bankruptcy.
In some cases, it may seem pointless to file for bankruptcy too soon after filing for bankruptcy previously. If you file too soon, you can’t have your debts discharged. But isn’t the point of filing for bankruptcy to have your debts discharged? Generally, yes. But in some cases, consumers don’t want or necessarily need to have their debts discharged. They may just need to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy to get on a payment plan with their creditor(s).
Call The Law Office of Steven D. Barnette, P.C. to Get Help from an Experienced Virginia Bankruptcy Lawyer
If you’re dealing with financial strain and are considering filing for bankruptcy, call The Law Office of Steven D. Barnette, P.C. at 804-693-2274 or contact us online. Let’s talk about how our Virginia bankruptcy lawyers could help you.