Many people think that if they have filed bankruptcy in the past, they cannot file again if they have financial problems again. There are time restrictions on filing a second case after discharge in the first case. There may be a waiting period. For example, if you have filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and received a discharge, you cannot file another Chapter 7 bankruptcy for 8 years. You may be able to file a new Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but you may not be eligible for discharge if the Chapter 7 was filed within the last 4 years. If you previously filed a Chapter 13 and obtained a discharge, you may be able to file another Chapter 13 after 2 years and obtain a discharge depending on the facts of the case. The time period is measured from the date you filed the first bankruptcy case to the date you filed the second bankruptcy case, not the date of discharge. The rules are very technical, but do not rule out bankruptcy as a potential option because you have filed in the past. In a newly filed case, the Court may question the Debtor’s good faith.
If you have previously filed a Chapter 13 and the case was dismissed without discharge within the last year, you may refile as long as you are able to show that you are able to perform and that your refiling is in good faith. Occasionally, this will happen where a person is laid off after starting a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and they are not able to make their payments or lower their payments.
Eligibility to refile and entitlement to discharge are important and complex questions. Consult a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney who can help guide you in how to proceed in your particular situation.