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How often can I file for bankruptcy?

Helen Keller once said that “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” Many people throughout history have followed that axiom, sometimes failing multiple times along the way. Nowhere is this more plain to see than in the records of noteworthy people who have filed for bankruptcy multiple times: Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and even financial wizard Donald Trump, all took advantage of bankruptcy laws more than once in their lives.

Just how often can one file for bankruptcy under the modern US Bankruptcy Code? The answer to that question depends in part on the type of bankruptcy that one uses.

Just how often can one file for bankruptcy under the modern U.S. Bankruptcy Code? The answer to that question depends in part on the type of bankruptcy that one uses.

Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, for example, if you have already filed once under this chapter you cannot have debts discharged under a subsequent Chapter 7 until eight years have passed from the date of the first filing. But, if your second bankruptcy filing is under Chapter 13, then the interval in which you cannot file after the original filing date is only four years.

If your first bankruptcy filing was under Chapter 13, and you want to file a second time under the same chapter, then two years must first pass from the date of the first filing before you can have debts discharged under a second filing.

If you want to file for Chapter 7 protection after having filed earlier under Chapter 13, then the wait period before you can have debts discharged under Chapter 7 is six years.

There is no fixed number of times that you can file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, as long as you adhere to the general time limits above. Note, however, that there can be variations that can have an effect on the wait periods.

For example, if you file for Chapter 13 twice or after having previously filed for Chapter 13, and the bankruptcy court does not confirm your repayment plan for the second filing, then your Chapter 13 will become a Chapter 7 and the Chapter 7 wait period rules will apply to you.

It is always a good idea to consult with an Ohio bankruptcy attorney if you have filed for bankruptcy in the past and believe that you may need to do so again. Such an attorney can provide you with specific guidance relevant to your situation so that you will know exactly what your time restrictions may be.

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