Repeat Bankruptcy Filings: How Often Can you file?

An attorney will look-up your previous bankruptcy filing to verify the date. The timelines start with the date of filing not the date of discharge.

Waiting Periods Apply to Discharge

First, some clarification is needed. You can file successive bankruptcy cases, but you may not receive a discharge if you received a discharge in a previous case and the bankruptcy protections may not apply. It rarely makes sense to file a bankruptcy knowing you won’t receive a discharge. Whether you receive a discharge depends on how many years have lapsed since the previous bankruptcy filing and what type of bankruptcy you filed.

Previous Chapter 7 Discharge

If you filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy and received a discharge, you must wait eight years from the date of filing to file another chapter 7 and four years to file a chapter 13. You can file a chapter 7 or chapter 13 sooner but you will not receive a discharge.

Previous Chapter 13 Discharge

If you file a chapter 13 and received a discharge, you must wait six years from the date of filing to receive a discharge in a chapter 7. If you paid back at least 70% of your unsecured debts in the chapter 13, there is no waiting period. If you are unsure how much you paid back, a lawyer can look up your chapter 13 plan. To receive a discharge from another chapter 13 filing, you must wait two years from the filing of the previous chapter 13.

Sometimes you may want to file bankruptcy even though you won’t receive a discharge. This is true for debtors who are trying to save their home from foreclosure and debtors who have tax debts. If you file bankruptcy and do not receive a discharge, the waiting periods to receive a discharge in a subsequent case do not apply,