Sometimes, you may find yourself in a circumstance where you need to file a second or even a third bankruptcy. As you might expect, there are many rules that govern your options – here is a summary:
File a second Chapter 7 after a prior Chapter 7
If your first Chapter 7 was dismissed (not discharged) you are free to file a second Chapter 7 anytime. However, if case #2 is filed within one year from the date you filed case #1, the automatic stay will terminate within 30 days after filing unless you go to court and ask for an extension. If you file a third case within one year of case #1, the automatic stay does not go into effect at all and you would have to go to court to ask the judge to impose a stay.
If Chapter 7 case #1 resulted in a discharge, you have to wait 8 years from the date you filed case #1 before you can file case #2.
File a Chapter 7 case after a prior Chapter 13
If you received a Chapter 13 discharge, you have to wait 6 years from the date you filed Chapter 13 before you can file a Chapter 7.
File a second Chapter 13 after a prior Chapter 13
If Chapter 13 case #1 was dismissed, you can refile immediately but you would have the same automatic stay limitations as discussed above.
If Chapter 13 case #1 resulted in a discharge, you have to wait 2 years from the date case #1 was filed if you want to be eligible for a second discharge. You can file a 2nd Chapter 13 case anytime but you would not be eligible for a discharge of debts if case #2 was filed within that 2 year period.
File a Chapter 13 case after a prior Chapter 7
If your Chapter 7 case was dismissed you can refile immediately but you would be subject to the automatic stay limitations discussed above.
If your Chapter 7 case resulted in a discharge, you would need to wait 4 years from the date you filed the Chapter 7 before you could file a Chapter 13 that would result in a discharge.
As you can see, the rules about refiling are very confusing, so you should avoid the temptation of filing a pro se (on your own) case or filing with an inexperienced lawyer. Miscalculating the filing date by even a few days could create huge problems.
If you think that you need to file a second case, whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, we can advise you – call our office at 770-393-4985.