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Does a Prior Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Block a Second Filing?

2nd Ch7 or Ch13

Georgia sees more bankruptcy filings than almost any other state, significantly exceeding the national average. This has been attributed to a combination of factors, among them state laws that protect creditors and leave consumers vulnerable and other laws that make it easy for people to seek debt relief in court. In such an economic environment, it is perhaps not surprising that some people seek to discharge debts through bankruptcy more than once.

Though it is possible to declare bankruptcy multiple times, there are limitations involved with filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy after the first instance. A certain amount of time must pass between a first and second filing. If a second filing occurs too soon, you will still be responsible for paying back debts that could potentially be wiped clear by a later filing.

The waiting period required to be eligible for a second debt discharge depends on the type of bankruptcy for which you first filed and the type you wish to seek the second time:

  • If you file for Chapter 7 first, you can ask to have debts erased through Chapter 7 again after eight years. Or, you can wait four years and be eligible for a discharge under Chapter 13.
  • If you file for Chapter 13 first, you can qualify for Chapter 13 debt discharge again as soon as two years after the initial filing. Six years after filing for Chapter 13, you may be able to achieve debt discharge again by filing for Chapter 7. This time frame may be shorter if you paid off all or most of your Chapter 13 debt.

The timing of a second bankruptcy filing also affects the automatic stay. A second filing within one year of dismissal of the first filing will result in a stay of only 30 days unless you can prove the second filing was in good faith. For a third filing within a year, there is no automatic stay at all without such proof.

The legal team at Jeff Field & Associates can help you understand your Georgia debt relief options and guide you through the process of filing for bankruptcy. For years, we have helped individuals and families in Dekalb County, Fulton County and throughout Georgia to overcome financial turmoil and start building good credit. To schedule a free initial consultation about our services, call us at 404-381-1278 or contact us online. We have offices in Scottdale, Marietta, Douglasville, Gainesville, Lawrenceville and Athens.

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