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Filing for bankruptcy a second time? Here’s what you can expect

Chapter 7 bankruptcy has helped thousands of New York consumers eliminate crushing levels of debt and reclaim their lives. While most of them realize greater financial solvency after discharge, some people eventually experience debt overload yet again, forcing them to consider filing for bankruptcy protection a second time.

Federal law places no restrictions on how many times you can file for bankruptcy, but there are limits on how often you can be discharged from debt. A certain amount of time has to pass between each bankruptcy before you can be relieved of your financial obligations.

  • If you want to file another Chapter 7 case, you have to wait eight years from the date of the first filing.
  • If you decided to file Chapter 13 after receiving a discharge from Chapter 7, the waiting period is four years.
  • If you originally discharged your debt through Chapter 13 and now want to file Chapter 7, you generally need to wait six years from the date of the original filing.
  • Anyone wanting to file a second Chapter 13 must wait two years from the date of their first filing. Chapter 13 cases run from three to five years, so you can technically file immediately after your first case is closed.

What if there was no discharge?

If your first Chapter 7 case was dismissed for some reason and you never received a discharge, you can refile without having to wait for years. For example, if your original petition was dismissed because you missed your court date, the waiting period is only 180 days regardless of which chapter you select for the second filing. It’s not a simple process, however.

Serial bankruptcy filing

Indebted consumers often file successive cases (without any of them ending in a discharge) to stop lawsuits, wage garnishment or foreclosure, representing themselves to save money. To prevent system abuse, Congress amended the U.S. Bankruptcy Code to limit your automatic stay to 30 days if you had one bankruptcy case dismissed in the previous year. The only way you can have it extended is to file a motion for an extension and convince the bankruptcy court judge that you are refiling in good faith and fully intend to seek a discharge this time.

If a difficult change in circumstances has resulted in you being compelled to file a second or even third bankruptcy, seek advice from a New York bankruptcy attorney first, especially if you did not receive a discharge in any of the previous cases. Your attorney will advise you on the best way to stop an upcoming lawsuit or foreclosure without jeopardizing your future discharge. Jayson Lutzky is a Bronx bankruptcy lawyer. If you are looking for a fresh financial start, then contact Mr. Lutzky’s office to discuss the possibility of personal bankruptcy. He offers free initial in-office consultations and can be reached at 718-329-9500. Visit www.mynewyorkcitylawyer.com/bankruptcy to learn more.

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