I’ve filed Bankruptcy in the past. Can I file now?

There is no limit on the number of bankruptcy cases that a petitioner may file. In fact, there is no limit in between time frames to file bankruptcy. You must however have sufficient time between filings in order to be eligible for a “discharge.”

So if a bankruptcy case is filed prematurely, although it will not be dismissed, a discharge will most likely not be an option. So why file with no discharge available? Here are a few situations where the creditor can still use bankruptcy as a shield:

Where a debtor wants to eliminate their debt in a subsequent chapter 7 and has sufficient assets to do so, filing again could provide this result.
Where a debtor has an unliquidated asset(s) (lawsuit, insurance claim, etc) and wants to use that to pay creditors, filing another chapter 7, the debtor can then let the trustee liquidate the asset(s) into dollars, who will then pay the debtors with the converted cash.
Where a debtor recently filed a chapter 7 and has remaining non-dischargeable debts. The debtor could then file a subsequent chapter 13 and be protected for the next 5 years against wage garnishment, lawsuits, foreclosure, etc. Although, after 5 years there will be no discharge, at this time the debtor might be eligible to eliminate the debt in another chapter 7 or 13.
The time frames between discharge eligibility are as follows:

8 years between chapter 7’s. US BANKRUPTCY CODE 727(a)(8)
2 years between chapter 13’s. US BANKRUPTCY CODE 1328(f)(2)
4 years between a chapter 7 and chapter 13 US BANKRUPTCY CODE 1328(f)(1)
6 years between a chapter 13 and chapter 7(if under 70% plan). US BANKRUPTCY CODE 727(a)(9)
The time is counted from filing to filing not from first discharge to second filing.

As you can see a discharge is not always an option due to time provisions but bankruptcy may still be good debt relief and management. Creative filing techniques and good knowledge of the bankruptcy code will allow an attorney to get the debt relief you need.

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