Your initial bankruptcy may not resolve all your financial woes. The law allows you to file for bankruptcy more than once, but there are time limits on getting another discharge of debts. Jeff Field & Associates can help you understand these restrictions so that you avoid mistakes that can affect your rights.
Most people file for bankruptcy in order to discharge (eliminate) their debts. If you’ve been successfully discharged from bankruptcy, you must wait a certain number of years after you filed to refile the same type of bankruptcy and obtain another discharge. The waiting time is generally eight years for a second Chapter 7 bankruptcy and two years for a second Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, you won’t need to wait to file a second Chapter 13 if, in the prior one, you did either of the following:
We can determine how long you must wait and refile for you at the appropriate time.
The amount of time you must wait to seek another discharge in bankruptcy is sometimes less if you decide to use a different bankruptcy chapter than you did before. If you were previously discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must wait four years after filing that proceeding to file for Chapter 13. If you were previously discharged in Chapter 13, you must wait six years after filing that proceeding to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, because Chapter 13 takes three to five years to complete, you might be able to file the Chapter 7 bankruptcy immediately. We can determine when you can file for a different chapter and represent you.
Sometimes, you need to file another bankruptcy because you fell on hard times again or otherwise have difficulty keeping up with debts that were not discharged in the prior bankruptcy or that you incurred since then. Business owners who tried Chapter 13 unsuccessfully might need to use Chapter 7 instead. The same waiting times apply to Georgia small business bankruptcy.
It’s important to understand that the waiting periods for new filings apply only to getting another discharge of debts. You can file sooner if you don’t need a discharge but do want to accomplish any of the following:
If you didn’t obtain a prior discharge, you might be able to refile much sooner, but if a court finds that multiple filings are for the purpose of frustrating your creditors or otherwise abusive, you may be barred from refiling for one year. We can counsel you on the availability of an early refiling that avoids this harsh result.
Filing bankruptcy more than once, even if you never receive a discharge, can have a greater negative impact on your credit history than a single bankruptcy. Each bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 10 years, and the more bankruptcies you file, the less creditworthy you will seem. This will likely make it difficult for you to obtain loans and credits except on disadvantageous terms. I will advise you of these potential downsides and help you consider alternatives to bankruptcy.
From offices conveniently located in Athens, Scottdale, Douglasville, Marietta, Gainesville and Lawrenceville, Jeff Field & Associates represents clients throughout the Atlanta metropolitan area. To schedule an appointment, call us at 404-381-1278 or contact us online.
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