Can You File Bankruptcy More Than Once? You Sure Can…

Can You File Bankruptcy More Than Once? You Sure Can…

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I’m the same as many other Orlando bankruptcy attorneys in that I do not like to see repeat customers. If a client comes back to me it means they have had financial problems again even after filing bankruptcy at least one time before. I love referrals, but don’t like repeat customers because the idea is, if you have to file bankruptcy, only do it once. The good news is that I can almost always help them get out of debt again.

Many people believe that bankruptcy is a “once-in-a-lifetime” deal. In other words, they think that once you have filed, you cannot file again. This is simply not the case. When a previous client calls me about possibly filing bankruptcy a second, or even a third time, I explain the following:

Few people have a crystal ball allowing them to foresee and prepare for a future financial crisis. Bankruptcy laws take this into consideration and continue to provide debt relief by not restricting the number of times one can file bankruptcy. Life throws many curve balls not limited to loss of employment or serious illness incurring large hospital bills. Filing bankruptcy again may be the best option.

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Section 727(a)(8) of the Bankruptcy Code states that every 8 years you may file under Chapter 7.

If less than 8 years have passed since you filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you cannot file again under Chapter 7. If it’s been at least 4 years since you filed your Chapter 7, you may file a Chapter 13 instead. This is covered in Section 1328(f)(1).

Section 727(a)(9) explains how the law handles previous Chapter 13 bankruptcies. You are required to wait at least 6 years if you want to file a Chapter 7 if you previously filed a Chapter 13. Although, if your Chapter 13 case paid 100 percent of the unsecured claims filed by your creditors, then you may file a Chapter 7 before the 6 years have passed. You may also file a Chapter 7 within the 6 years if your payment plan was prepared in good faith, you adhered to the plan, and 70 percent of your creditor’s claims have been paid.

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Finally, if your last case was a Chapter 13, then you may file another Chapter 13 once two years have passed.

While not always viewed favorably, filing multiple Chapter 13 cases within the required 2 years is possible. Frequently these “serial filings” occur while trying to avoid foreclosure on a home. A favorable ruling from the Judge is required to proceed with the filing. You will need to show how your circumstances have changed and that you can afford a Chapter 13 payment plan.

Each situation is unique. Speaking with experienced Orlando bankruptcy attorneys will help with your decision to file bankruptcy or not. An experienced attorney can help with the timelines for all these scenarios.

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