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Here’s When You Can File For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Again

Crystal ball, exteriorIf you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy too soon after you get a previous bankruptcy discharge, you cannot receive another discharge.

If you filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the past, you may not be able to file a new Chapter 7 case and get a discharge of your debts.

Time your new Chapter 7 bankruptcy case properly and you’ll get the benefits you’re looking for.

Do it wrong and you’ll end up in a bad situation.

Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Again

If you received your first discharge under a Chapter 7, you are eligible to get a discharge in a new Chapter 7 bankruptcy that is filed more than eight years from the date that the first case was filed.

If you file a new Chapter 7 bankruptcy case within eight years then you will not qualify for a discharge in the new case.

Is The Discharge Important In The New Chapter 7 Case?

As I discuss in the article, How To File Bankruptcy Again When You’re Back In Debt, you need to think about why you’re filing a new Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. In some situations, the discharge may not be important to you.

You may have enough money to repay your debts in full but simply don’t want to deal with numerous creditors.

Or you may have a piece of property that could be sold to pay your debts, but don’t want the hassle of selling it and dividing up the proceeds.

In those situations, a new Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be a good idea in spite of the fact that you won’t get a discharge.

Discharged v. Dismissed v. Denied

If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you don’t qualify for a discharge if the prior case was filed within the past eight years and resulted in a discharge.

However, if the case was dismissed then you may not face such a limitation. We’re going to need to look into the reasons for the dismissal before making a decision about that.

If your discharge was denied in your first case then you may be able to file again. Any discharge you receive, however, may not include the debts you listed in the original Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Again, we’re going to need to look into things before deciding how the new Chapter 7 case is going to play out.

Consider Chapter 13

Even if you do not qualify for a discharge in a second Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, you may be eligible to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and get a discharge of your debts.

For more information on that, read my article, Why Your Debt Relief Options Should Include Your Future Plans. You may find that filing a new case under Chapter 13 gets you the results you’re looking for.

Either way, remember that filing for bankruptcy again isn’t impossible. It all depends on your goals, your timing, and your willingness to be flexible to get the relief you need.

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By |August 16th, 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.
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