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How To File Bankruptcy Again When You’re Back In Debt

can you file bankruptcy againIf you find yourself in over your head after filing for bankruptcy, there are options.

Life has a funny way of going left when you want it to go right.

You file for bankruptcy, go through the process, and come out the other end.

Though you swear you’ll never be in that situation again, sometimes the unexpected happens.

An unreimbursed medical expense, job loss, or other money crunch puts you in the financial hole again.

Can you file for bankruptcy again?

For A Second Bankruptcy, Consider Your Goal First

Depending on what you need to accomplish, you may not even care about getting a discharge at the end of a bankruptcy case.

For example, let’s say you’ve run up against some big tax debts and just need some time to pay them out.

Maybe you’ve got a past due mortgage and are looking for a way to catch up on the arrears.

In other words, you need to file for bankruptcy but don’t much need the discharge part of the equation.

For situations that can be helped with a little time on your side, filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be the best option. You can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy at any time after a Chapter 7 discharge, but if it’s within 4 years of your Chapter 7 then you’ll need to propose a repayment of your entire debt.

If You Need A Discharge Of Your New Debts

There are limits to your ability to get a discharge of your debts in either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy if you’ve filed before.

Different rules apply based upon the type of bankruptcy case you filed first.  In a nutshell, the time frames between discharge eligibility:

  • If you filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy less than 8 years ago, you cannot get a discharge in another Chapter 7
  • If you filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy less than 4 years ago, you cannot get a discharge in another Chapter 13
  • If you filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy less than 2 years ago, you cannot get a discharge at the end of another Chapter 13;
  • If you filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy less than 6 years ago and repaid less than 70% of your debts, you cannot get a discharge in a new Chapter 7.

If You Need To Wait

Remember that your only option is not to file for bankruptcy.

You can try to work out payment options with your creditors.

You can defend against a lawsuit or foreclosure with an eye towards settling the matters.

You can stop the debt collection calls using the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

These may not be perfect solutions, but if you can’t file for bankruptcy yet then at least you can get some of the power back in your hands.

Let the clock run down, wait until a bankruptcy will accomplish your goals, and go from there.

Image credit:  JohnSeb

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By |May 23rd, 2013|

About the Author:

I've been a consumer protection lawyer since 1995, working to help people end their bill problems. I'm a faculty member at the Student Loan Law Workshop, a nationally recognized speaker, and a long-time member of both the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and National Association of Consumer Advocates.