Whether you are filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy or Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are at liberty to file for bankruptcy as often as you deem fit. The bankruptcy code does not put a limit on the number of bankruptcy an individual can file over a lifetime. Those who made this law understood that the chances are high that you’ll fall into debt and there may be a cause to file for bankruptcy. As such, there is nothing that stops a debtor from filing bankruptcy the second time. In addition, you should understand bankruptcy homestead exemption when filing bankruptcy.
However, to prevent abuse of the court process, there are restrictions on the number of discharges an individual can get within a specific period of time. As such, you can fine for bankruptcy multiple time, but whether you’ll qualify to receive a discharge depends on the former bankruptcy case.
The 2-4-6-8 Rule
As mentioned earlier, you can always file for a bankruptcy discharge, but you may or may not be issued the discharge. As such, if you want to file for bankruptcy again, then the real question is if you have waited enough before filling for another discharge.
Your waiting period is determined by two pieces of information, which are: the bankruptcy chapter you filed before, and the bankruptcy chapter you want to file under. The 2-4-6-8 Rule will apply if you got a bankruptcy discharge in the previous case.
If the 2-4-6-8 Rule applies to you, then it means that you can’t get a bankruptcy discharge till after 2,4,6, or 8 years after getting a discharge. To know the waiting period that applies to your case, you simply need to check your previous bankruptcy filing, and the one you want to file for now, then check the guide below.
The waiting period is determined as follows:
- Two years—(For Chapter 13 to Chapter 13 bankruptcy)—you will have to wait for a two year period before you can get another Chapter 13 bankruptcy discharge.
- Four years—(Chapter 13 bankruptcy after Chapter 7 bankruptcy)—here, you will have to wait for a period of four years before you can get a bankruptcy discharge.
- Six years—( Chapter 13 to Chapter 7)—if you applied for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and you now want to apply for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, then you’ll have to wait for six years before you’re issued a bankruptcy discharge.
- Eight Years—(Chapter 7 to Chapter 7)—you have to wait for eight years if you want to apply for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy after getting one previously.
To calculate the time limits for getting a bankruptcy discharge, then you’ll start from the period you filed for bankruptcy discharge and not the time the discharge was given. Recently, there has been a surge in people filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy after filing for Chapter 7.
It’s important to note that bankruptcies can vary slightly from state to state, especially when it comes to income limits.. For instance, if you are planning on filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Ohio, it may look different than a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Georgia. Make sure you are aware of these differences before moving forward with filing.
What About Cases That Did Not Receive a Discharge?
The waiting period might be shorter if you didn’t get a discharge on your previous application. You can file for another bankruptcy discharge if the bankruptcy court dismisses your case—this bankruptcy discharge has to be done after 180 days. Also, you can discharge the debt in the previous case by filing for a new bankruptcy discharge.
If your bankruptcy discharge or the case was dismissed, then the best thing to do is hire the services of a highly experienced bankruptcy attorney before you file for a discharge. Some special circumstances might have an effect on the time limits between bankruptcy discharges.
Another thing to remember when filing bankruptcy is that the rules on how to file and what goes into the filling are dependent on where you are in the country.
Bankruptcy can be a lifeline for folks who cannot pay their debt and need debt relief. That said, there are certain limits to consider when understand how often you can file bankruptcy. Understand the waiting period and how discharge works when it comes to filing bankruptcy.