Can I File for Bankruptcy More Than Once?

Business man worried, filing for bankruptcy

Yes, you can file for bankruptcy more than once. No bankruptcy law prevents you from filing bankruptcy multiple times. However, bankruptcy laws prevent you from receiving multiple bankruptcy discharges within a specific period.

How Often Can I File for Bankruptcy?

The time limits for filing bankruptcy cases apply to the bankruptcy discharge. If you file another bankruptcy too soon, you will not receive a bankruptcy discharge. Therefore, to receive a bankruptcy discharge, you need to file after the waiting period expires. An experienced Georgia bankruptcy lawyer can help you in the process of filing for bankruptcy more than once.

The reasons why someone may need to file bankruptcy again include but are not limited to:

  • Divorce 
  • Unemployment or decrease in income
  • Death of a family member 
  • Loss of a business
  • Illness or disability
  • Birth or adoption of a child
  • Debt collection lawsuits, wage garnishments, foreclosures, and repossessions
  • Overspending 

Positive and negative life events can result in a financial crisis that a person may not be able to overcome without bankruptcy assistance. 

The time between bankruptcy filings to receive a discharge depends on the chapter of bankruptcy previously filed and the chapter of bankruptcy you are filing now. Wait times between bankruptcy filings to receive a discharge are:

  • Chapter 7 to Chapter 7 – You must wait eight years from the original filing date to file Chapter 7 again to receive a bankruptcy discharge 
  • Chapter 7 to Chapter 13 – You must wait four years from the Chapter 7 filing date before filing Chapter 13 to receive a bankruptcy discharge
  • Chapter 13 to Chapter 7 – You must wait six years from the Chapter 13 filing date before filing Chapter 7 to receive a bankruptcy discharge (there are exceptions to this rule, speak with an attorney)
  • Chapter 13 to Chapter 13 – You only need to wait two years after the original Chapter 13 filing date to file another Chapter 13 to receive a bankruptcy discharge

You could receive a bankruptcy discharge two or more times, provided you wait the required time between bankruptcy filings. The rules regarding a bankruptcy discharge do not change for subsequent bankruptcy filings. You can discharge the same debts and receive the same protections by filing more than one bankruptcy. 

What is a Bankruptcy Discharge?

A bankruptcy discharge eliminates your legal liability to repay a debt. In other words, a discharge gets rid of debt. The purpose of filing a bankruptcy case is to obtain a bankruptcy discharge. 

Most unsecured debts are dischargeable in bankruptcy. Debts you can generally get rid of by filing bankruptcy include:

  • Medical debts
  • Personal loans
  • Credit card debts
  • Most judgments
  • Old rent and lease payments 
  • Some old income tax debts
  • Arrearage from foreclosures and repossessions

While you cannot get rid of alimony, child support, restitution, and most debts owed to the government, you could file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy to repay those debts over time. A Chapter 13 case can also allow you to catch up on car loans and mortgage payments to keep those assets.

Contact Our Georgia Bankruptcy Lawyer for a Free Consultation 

Filing bankruptcy again may not be what you had planned, but many people go through more than one financial hardship during their lifetime. Bankruptcy can help you get back on your feet. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation with our Georgia bankruptcy lawyer to discuss your debt-relief options.

Posted in: Bankruptcy