Jeffrey M. Rosenblum, P.C.
A Fresh Start

Can you file for bankruptcy more than once?

You filed for bankruptcy years ago. Now, due to a series of unfortunate events, you find yourself considering it once again. How soon can you file for bankruptcy a second time? How many times can you file for bankruptcy over the course of your life?

It depends on the type of bankruptcy and whether it was discharged or dismissed. If your Chapter 7 bankruptcy was discharged, you cannot file for Chapter 7 again for at least eight years after the date of the first filing. If you qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can file for that four years after the filing date of your Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

What if your first bankruptcy was a Chapter 13? Once it's been discharged, you can typically file for another one right away if you need to. If you're considering a Chapter 7 bankruptcy after a Chapter 13, you need to wait for six years from the discharge date unless you've paid at least 70 percent of your unsecured debts. You also have to prove to a court that you've done your best to commit to your repayment plan.

There are no additional restrictions on the number of times a person can file for bankruptcy in their lives if their previous bankruptcies were discharged. However, in most cases, if your first bankruptcy was dismissed, particularly if the dismissal was because of something you did wrong, you can never file for bankruptcy again.

If you're in the process of Chapter 7 bankruptcy and decide that Chapter 13 would better meet your needs and goals (or vice versa), you may be able to switch. However, this can often be avoided if you fully understand both types of bankruptcy before you initiate the filing.

An experienced bankruptcy attorney can provide valuable guidance to help ensure that you fully understand and comply with the terms of the bankruptcy. They can also help you if you decide later down the line that a second bankruptcy may be your best or only option.

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