Bankruptcy is designed to give debtors a fresh start with their finances. Most people who file for bankruptcy do so only once. However, some debtors find it necessary to file bankruptcy petitions twice or more. While technically there are no limits on the number of times you can seek bankruptcy protection, there are prohibitions and waiting periods that apply.
The waiting period between bankruptcy petitions depends on whether the first bankruptcy was filed under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 and on which chapter the debtor intends to use for the second bankruptcy petition. The waiting periods apply when the debtor receives a discharge of debts in the first bankruptcy filing. There are much less restrictive rules about successive bankruptcy filings when the first case is withdrawn, dismissed for reasons other than serious debtor misconduct or administratively dismissed by the court.
If you received a discharge of debts under Chapter 7 (commonly known as liquidation), you must wait eight years before filing a second Chapter 7 petition. There are other possible scenarios. You can file a Chapter 13 (commonly known as reorganization) four years after a Chapter 7 discharge. If you are qualified, you can file for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 with no waiting period after filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
If you received a discharge under Chapter 13, the rules are a bit more complicated. You may file a Chapter 7 with no waiting period if you completed the Chapter 13 reorganization plan approved by the court. You may also be allowed a subsequent filing under Chapter 7 without delay if you paid at least 70 percent of the payments required under the Chapter 13 reorganization plan. The 70 percent rule applies only if you acted in good faith and made your best efforts to pay the entirety of the outstanding obligations. If less than 70 percent of a prior Chapter 13 case is paid, you must wait six years to file a Chapter 7 petition. A second Chapter 13 case may be filed after a two-year waiting period.
Jeff Field & Associates is one of the largest bankruptcy and debt relief law firms in the Atlanta, Marietta and Athens areas of Georgia. If you are struggling with consumer debt, feel free to contact us online or call 404-381-1278 for a consultation.
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