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Is it Possible to File for Bankruptcy a Second Time?

Bankruptcy can be a useful tool to shed overwhelming debt. Sometimes, filing bankruptcy lasts only as a temporary cure and you may need to file again if you find yourself in financial distress again. The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA) permits you to file subsequent bankruptcy petitions without requiring you to wait a particular amount of time between filings. Nevertheless, the BAPCPA places time limitations on when you may receive a discharge of debts in a given period of time. The time frame for receiving a subsequent discharge is determined by type of bankruptcy you filed previously.

Discharge under identical bankruptcy chapters

Once you receive discharge under Chapter 7, the Bankruptcy Rules require you to wait eight years before you can receive a subsequent Chapter 7 discharge.

If you initially received a Chapter 13 discharge, the Bankruptcy Rules impose a two year waiting period before a court can issue another Chapter 13 discharge.

Discharges under different chapters

You must wait four years after receiving a Chapter 7 discharge in order to subsequently receive a Chapter 13 discharge.

If you filed under Chapter 13 first you can receive a subsequent discharge under Chapter 7 following a six year waiting period. The time can be reduced if:

  • You made all payments to all of your unsecured creditors under your Chapter 13 plan
  • You paid a minimum of 70% of the claims and the payment plan you proposed was made in good faith and  you put forth your best effort

Other rules apply if your bankruptcy case was dismissed or denied and the court did not discharge your debts. Furthermore, you can still benefit from filing for Chapter 13 shortly after receiving a Chapter 7 discharge.  This type of bankruptcy — called a Chapter 20— affords you the protections of a bankruptcy (such as the automatic stay) but without discharging your debts.

Whether you are filing bankruptcy for the first time or a subsequent time, a Los Angeles bankruptcy attorney can advise you on the process. Contact the Law Offices of Michael Jay Berger for a free consultation.

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