Can I File Bankruptcy More than Once?

Filing bankruptcy allows you to remedy the debts you owe when you do not have the fiscal resources to pay them. It helps debtors gain relief from financial obligations they cannot pay while enabling creditors to receive some payment from whatever assets a debtor possesses but does not need for basic livelihood. Because it is a federal law, bankruptcy is the same across the U.S. although the exemptions states allow may differ. If you find yourself struggling with bills after having previously filed bankruptcy, then you may be asking yourself, Can I file bankruptcy more than once?

The Ohio bankruptcy attorneys at Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co. LPA know that you sometimes face challenges in life that compromise your financial well-being. This can make it difficult, if not impossible, to assume responsibility for all of your debt. You need highly experienced lawyers to help you move forward by reorganizing financially, so call us at (419) 625-7770 to schedule a confidential consultation.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Most people file one of two types of bankruptcy – Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 – which are named according to the chapter of the federal bankruptcy code that describes them.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to liquidate your non-exempt assets, with those assets defined as those not necessary for you to start over after your bankruptcy. Available to individuals, married couples, corporations, and partnerships, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy requires a court-appointed trustee to sell those non-exempt assets to distribute the proceeds among the creditors you owe.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to catch up on debts by establishing a repayment plan in which you retain your assets and make regular payments to a Chapter 13 trustee over three to five years. In turn, the trustee pays your creditors. The amount of repayment is based on your income and can range from nearly nothing to all of your debt.

Filing Bankruptcy More Than Once

There is no limit how many times you can file bankruptcy unless a court orders otherwise. Still, you will be required to wait a certain amount of time between filings. Filing again and receiving an elimination of your debt – called a discharge – depends on when and how you previously filed, how you would like to file now, and if your previous bankruptcy was discharged, dismissed, or dismissed with prejudice. (The latter can occur if you failed to obey court orders, filed multiple cases to stave off creditors, or tried to abuse the bankruptcy system in any way.)

Time restrictions between bankruptcy filings vary. If you file:

  • Chapter 7 to Chapter 7, then you must wait eight years from the date you previously filed;
  • Chapter 7 to Chapter 13 (also referred to as Chapter 20), then you must wait four years;
  • Chapter 13 to Chapter 7, then you must wait six years unless you previously repaid either all of your unsecured debts or at least 70 percent of them after proposing a payment plan in good faith; and
  • Chapter 13 to Chapter 13, then you must wait two years (with eligibility occurring after you complete your first Chapter 13 repayment plan, which generally takes three to five years).

Contact Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co. LPA for Help

The unexpected can take a toll on your finances and complicate your ability to pay the bills you owe. Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co. LPA not only possess the experience you need when filing bankruptcy, but also the compassion you deserve. Contact us at (419) 625-7770 to schedule a free consultation and let us help you.