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Bankruptcy Law Blog

Monday, September 9, 2019

How Often Can You File for Bankruptcy?

How often can you file for bankruptcy? In theory, the answer to this question is as many times as you need. But in reality, the answer is every lawyer’s favorite answer — it depends. 

If you need to file for bankruptcy again, whether the law will allow you to do so depends on the type of bankruptcy you previously filed, how your previous case was resolved, and how long it has been since your previous case was filed. 

Which Chapter? 

The bankruptcy law is like a car dealership. There are a variety of makes and models to choose from. Anything you pick will get you to your destination, but it is important to find the vehicle that best fits your needs instead of jumping in the first one you see. There are two main chapters of the bankruptcy code that individuals typically file under — Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. In order to file bankruptcy again, you will need to know what chapter your case was filed under the last time you filed, and what chapter you would like to file under this time around. It is wise to work with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to figure this out because choosing the wrong chapter could get your case dismissed and limit your ability to file again in the future. 

Timing 

Once you know what type of case your previous case was, and what type of case you want to file this time, things get a little bit tricky. 

If your previous case was a Chapter 7 case, and you want to file under Chapter 7 again, you must wait 8 years between filings. 

If your previous case was a Chapter 7 case, and you want to file under Chapter 13 this time, you must wait 4 years between filings. 

If your previous case was a Chapter 13 case, and you now want to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must wait 6 years between filings unless:

  1. You paid all “allowed unsecured” claims in the earlier case in full, or
  2. You made payments under the plan in the earlier case totaling at least 70% of the allowed unsecured claims and your plan was proposed in good faith and the payments you made represented your best effort.

If your previous case was a Chapter 13 case, and you want to file under Chapter 13 again, you must wait 2 years between filings. 

Dismissed or Discharged

The above scenarios assume that you went through the entire bankruptcy process and had some debts discharged. If you filed for bankruptcy, but your case was dismissed before any of your debts were discharged, you should be able to file again after a year. 

You may be able to file again immediately if you can explain why your previous case was dismissed. 

Sweet Home Alabama 

One thing that doesn’t matter is the jurisdiction — or location — where your previous case was filed. It doesn’t matter if your previous case was filed here in Alabama or elsewhere since bankruptcy law is federal law. The law is the same across the entire country. 

The Padgett & Robertson team is ready to help if you are considering filing for bankruptcy again. 


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Padgett and Robertson assist clients with Bankruptcy, Personal Bankruptcy, Consumer Bankruptcy, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and The New Bankruptcy Law in Mobile, Alabama and throughout southern Alabama. Alabama State Bar Association Regulations require the following: "No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers." 11 U.S.C. 528 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code requires the following: "We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.”



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Alabama State Bar Association Regulations require the following: "No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers." 11 U.S.C. 528 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code requires the following: "We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.”