Filing for Bankruptcy More than Once

If you have ever filed bankruptcy, you probably remember how it works. However, many people wonder if filing more than once is an option. There are many reasons to file more than once: you may have accrued more debt during your bankruptcy, you may have fallen behind on new payments, or you may have had an accident or other catastrophe in your life that has given you more debt. Fortunately, it is possible to file again.

Time Frames and Limits

It may interest you to know that the "time limit" on bankruptcy will not let you discharge any debt after your first filing; the time limit depends on the type of bankruptcy you filed previously and the type you would like to file now. For example, you cannot receive a discharge on a Chapter 7 until eight years after your first 7, and the time limit on Chapter 13 is two years. This does differ if you decide to file different types of bankruptcy; the waiting time depends on both the order and the way you have handled payments since your first bankruptcy. Your attorney can give you the exact numbers, but the waiting period can be anywhere from four to six years.

Dismissals

There are various reasons for a bankruptcy to be dismissed, ranging from the desire of the client to simple paperwork errors to dishonesty. If your bankruptcy was dismissed without prejudice, you can simply try again at any time; after all, "without prejudice" means that it is not a permanent dismissal. However, there is a waiting period if your bankruptcy was dismissed with prejudice. The term "with prejudice" means that is official and permanent, and you must wait at least six months before you are allowed to try again.

Benefits

Although you may not be eligible for a discharge of debt if you file another bankruptcy within the time frame of your first bankruptcy, the act of filing still may be beneficial. As the act of filing calls for an automatic stay, you will benefit from being legally protected from creditor harassment. Another situation in which a second bankruptcy might be beneficial to you is one in which you did not discharge your debt in your first bankruptcy. Whatever the reasons you have, filing a second time can help you get your life together and find the debt relief that you have been missing for so long.

"I was worried I would lose everything. Brian helped me sort things out and restored my life. I don't know where I'd be without him!"

-Sue H. Ogden, UT