There are no restrictions on how many bankruptcy cases a person can file, but there are restrictions on the time between filing. A bankruptcy attorney can explain the bankruptcy process and the required waiting period between filings.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
When a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is filed, almost all of a person’s property and assets become the property of the bankruptcy estate. A bankruptcy trustee is appointed and given the authority to sell bankruptcy estate assets that will allow creditors to be paid. In some cases, a bankruptcy attorney can prevent real estate property from being sold when filing bankruptcy.
In Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, there is a waiting period of eight years between filings if assets were discharged in a previous Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If a person received a discharge in Chapter 7 and chooses to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, there is a waiting period of four years.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows a person to keep his/her residential property depending on the type of property and federal exemptions allowed. Payments to unsecured creditors during the bankruptcy process is affected by the amount of non-exempt property. When real property is kept, a person must still keep up with payments for secured debts, such as mortgages or car loans, to avoid foreclosure or repossession.
In Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, there is a waiting period of two years between filings if assets were discharged in a previous Chapter 13 bankruptcy. It usually takes three to five years for a repayment plan to be discharged. If a person received a discharge in Chapter 13 and chooses to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there is a waiting period of six years. This waiting period does not apply if all unsecured debts are repaid, or if at least 70 percent of unsecured debts are repaid during a payment plan.
If a court dismisses a previous bankruptcy with prejudice, a bankruptcy court can prohibit another bankruptcy filing for a longer period of time. Typically, “Dismissed with Prejudice” means that a person tried to abuse the bankruptcy system or failed to obey the court’s orders. A court can also forever prohibit a person from discharging debts that might have been discharged in the case that was dismissed with prejudice. When filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a bankruptcy attorney can provide legal information explaining the requirements and limitations of cases that are dismissed with prejudice.