Filing for bankruptcy can provide you with debt relief by allowing you to pay back a portion of your debt or wiping out the debt you had. After filing for bankruptcy, you should make sure to manage your debts and borrow only what you need. However, life does take some twists and turns. You may end up in the situation where you may need to declare bankruptcy again. Declaring bankruptcy again is usually a waiting game and depends on whether you received a discharge or not.

I filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. When can I file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy again?

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is an attractive solution to debt management to many because it allows you to start fresh. When you declare bankruptcy under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code, you can get a discharge on all your qualified and listed debts in exchange for turning over non-exempt assets to the bankruptcy trustee. If you have filed for bankruptcy in a Chapter 7 case and received a discharge in the last eight (8) years, you will not be able to receive another discharge in a Chapter 7 case.1

Further, you will not be able to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy if within 180 days (6 months) before filing bankruptcy a prior bankruptcy petition was dismissed due to your failure to comply with a Court order, your failure to appear before the court, or your voluntary dismissal of the case after your creditors sought relief to recover property.2 The same rule applies for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

I filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. How long do I have to wait to file under Chapter 13 again?

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy takes a bit longer but allows you to create a repayment plan so you can pay back a portion of your debt over three to five years. If can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy at any time.3 A�A Chapter 13 bankruptcy usually avoid debt discharge because of the repayment plan, so it is possible to file it again more quickly.4 However, if your debts were discharged in a prior Chapter 13 case then you usually cannot receive a discharge for another Chapter 13 unless it is filed two years from the date the original Chapter 13 case was filed.5 Since it takes three to five years to complete a repayment plan, this means you can typically file for another Chapter 13 bankruptcy after you complete your first one.

When can I file under another Chapter of the bankruptcy code?

You still have to wait to file for another form of bankruptcy after you file under any chapter. For example, if you filed for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and received a discharge, you have to wait four years after your Chapter 7 bankruptcy was filed to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.6 If you filed for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and received a discharge, you cannot file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and receive a discharge for six years from the day you filed your Chapter 13 case.7 The exception to the six year waiting rule is if you used your Chapter 13 bankruptcy to pay off all unsecured debts or at least 70% of your unsecured debts and your plan was done in good faith and to your best effort.8

Call to speak directly with an experienced Phoenix bankruptcy lawyer to find out A�if there is a limit to how many bankruptcies you can file.

[1] How Often Can You File For Bankruptcy In Arizona?, jacksonwhitelaw.com, http://www.jacksonwhitelaw.com/arizona-bankruptcy/how-often-can-you-file-for-bankruptcy-in-arizona/ (last visited Jan. 21, 2015).

2 Choosing Your Chapter, azb.uscourts.gov 5 (June 2014), http://www.azb.uscourts.gov/sites/default/files/Choosing_Your_Chapter.pdf.

3 Guinn Law Group, How Often Can You File For Bankruptcy in Arizona?, hg.org, http://www.hg.org/article.asp?id=26438 (last visited Jan. 21, 2015).

4 Id.

5 Baran Bulkat, How Often Can You File For Bankruptcy?, alllaw.com, http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/bankruptcy/how-often-file.html (last visited Jan. 21, 2015).

6 How Often Can You File For Bankruptcy In Arizona?, supra note 1.

7 When Can I File Bankruptcy Again?, skibalaw.com (July 16, 2011), http://skibalaw.com/when-can-i-file-bankruptcy-again/.

8 Baran Bulkat, supra note 5.