Filing Bankruptcy Again: Can I File Chapter 13 If I Already Filed Chapter 7?
Do you need to file bankruptcy again? Are you worried that you will never be able to get out of debt because you already used your one chance to file bankruptcy? There is good news — you can file bankruptcy again with our chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney.
It would be wonderful if everyone experienced only one financial crisis during his or her lifetime. Unfortunately, you never know what will happen tomorrow. Even people who have worked diligently to plan for emergencies can experience a financial crisis at any time. For example, you lost your job due to a layoff by the company. For several months, you are able to pay your bills using your unemployment benefits; however, you have not been able to find a new job before your unemployment benefits expire. You are forced to use your savings to make ends meet as you continue to search for a new job but your savings are running out. What do you do?
Can I File Bankruptcy Again?
Several years ago, your spouse suffered from an unexpected illness that resulted in thousands of medical bills you could not afford to pay. Your bankruptcy attorney advised you to file bankruptcy. You took the attorney’s advice, filed bankruptcy, and received a fresh start free from medical debt. However, due to another unexpected financial crisis, you are faced with losing your home and other assets because you cannot afford to pay your debts. Is bankruptcy an option?
Yes, you can file bankruptcy again. The Bankruptcy Code does not limit the number of bankruptcy cases a person can file; however, it does limit the time period between bankruptcy discharges. A bankruptcy discharge is the goal of filing bankruptcy because the discharge ends your legal liability to repay your debts. Therefore, if you wait for the required period between bankruptcy filings to be eligible for another discharge, you can successfully file bankruptcy again.
The 2-4-6-8 Rule of Filing Bankruptcy Again
The time limit between bankruptcy discharges depends on the previous chapter of bankruptcy filed and the chapter of the new bankruptcy. The 2-4-6-8 Rule is the best way to remember these time frames.
Two Years – Two years between a prior Chapter 13 bankruptcy case and a new Chapter 13 Case.
Four Years – Four years between a prior Chapter 7 bankruptcy case and a new Chapter 13 case.
Six Years – Six years between a prior Chapter 13 bankruptcy case and a new Chapter 13 case.
Eight Years – Eight years between a prior Chapter 7 bankruptcy case and a new Chapter 7 case.
To answer your question, if you want to file a new Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the filing date of your old Chapter 7 case must be at least four years prior to the filing date of your new Chapter 13 case. Because laws are very rarely absolute, you should always consult an experienced bankruptcy attorney before filing any bankruptcy case. There could be an exception to the above rules depending on the specific circumstances of your prior bankruptcy filing.