How Long Before I Can File Bankruptcy Again?

There is no limit on the number of bankruptcy cases that one may file, nor on the time which must pass between filings. The only catch is that if insufficient time has past between filings, you will not receive a discharge.

For example, a debtor who has filed a chapter 7 and has received a discharge for some of his debt, and who has other non-dischargeable debts, which he needs time to pay, such as student loans or taxes, might file a follow-up chapter 13 and have five years to pay those debts and not have to worry aboiut beind sued or garnished. At the end of the five year Chapter 13, he will not receive another discharge, but by that time, he will have paid off his non-dischargeable debts. Or enough time may have passed for him to to file another bankruptcy – chapter 7 or 13 – and obtain a discharge.

In summary, the time limits for obtaining a new discharge are as follows:

8 years between commencement of a chapter 7 to commencement of another chapter 7: 11 USC Sect. 727(a)(8)

2 years between commencement of a chapter 13 and another chapter 13: 11 USC Sect. 1328(f)(2)

4 years between commencement of a chapter 7 and commencement of a chapter 13: 11 USC Sect. 1328(f)(1)

6 years between commencement of a chapter 13 and commencement of a chapter 7 (if the chapter 13 paid less than 70% of debts): 11 USC Sect. 727(a)(9)

The time is counted from filing to filing — not from first discharge to second filing.

Also there is a bar against refiling for 180 days in certain rare circumstances:

(g) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, no individual or family farmer may be a debtor under this title who has been a debtor in a case pending under this title at any time in the preceding 180 days if—

(1) the case was dismissed by the court for willful failure of the debtor to abide by orders of the court, or to appear before the court in proper prosecution of the case; or
(2) the debtor requested and obtained the voluntary dismissal of the case following the filing of a request for relief from the automatic stay provided by section 362 of this title.


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