The federal Bankruptcy Code limits how often a debtor can receive a bankruptcy discharge. A bankruptcy discharge is a court order that releases you from personal liability on certain debts. It is the thing that erases your dischargeable debts.
The discharge of debts is the biggest benefit of bankruptcy. You are no longer legally required to pay back any debts that are part of your bankruptcy discharge. Further, the creditors of discharged debts can never legally attempt to collect payment on those debts.
How often a debtor can receive a bankruptcy discharge depends on which chapters of bankruptcy are filed.
Learn about the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 here.
Filing For Chapter 7 Again
If you received a discharge in a Chapter 7 case before, you must wait for at least 8-years from the date the first case was filed, to be able to receive a second discharge of debts in another Chapter 7 case.
Filing For Chapter 13 Again
If you received a discharge in a Chapter 13 case before, you must wait for at least 2-years from the date the first case was filed, to be able to receive a second discharge of debts in a subsequent Chapter 13 case.
Filing For Chapter 13, then Chapter 7
If you received a discharge in a Chapter 13 case before, generally you must wait for at least 6-years from the date the Chapter 13 case was filed before being eligible to receive a discharge in a subsequent Chapter 7 case. There is an exception to this rule. Consult an experienced Bankruptcy Attorney for this exception.
Filing For Chapter 7, then Chapter 13
If you received a discharge in a Chapter 7 case before, you must wait for at least 4-years from the date the Chapter 7 case was filed before being eligible to receive a discharge in a subsequent Chapter 13 case.
The Colloquial “Chapter 20”
In certain rare cases, receiving a discharge is not the goal when filing for bankruptcy. For example, some people may benefit from filing Chapter 13 directly after receiving a discharge in a Chapter 7 case. These debtors may need the benefits of Chapter 13 to help them pay back debts that are non-dischargeable, such as back child or spousal support or certain tax debts. Or, these debtors may need the Chapter 13 benefit of catching up on their mortgage arrears.
Filing For Bankruptcy Again
The law on how often you can receive a bankruptcy discharge is clear. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, and you’ve filed in the past, it is important that you consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can help you ensure you get all possible benefits from filing for bankruptcy again.
Here at the Law Office of Barbara B. Braziel we will help you determine if you are eligible for a bankruptcy discharge. We will make sure you understand the benefits of bankruptcy and how filing will affect you and your family. We take the time to explain the bankruptcy process to our clients. We invite you to learn more about our firm here and come meet with us for a free no-obligation consultation.
Reach out to us by email at info@BrazielLaw.com or call (912) 351-9000.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.