Many clients want to know if a previous bankruptcy filing is going to prevent them from being able to file again. Many factors go into when and whether it can be done, but the two biggest factors are what type of bankruptcy was filed previously and how long ago the case was filed.
No Bar for Subsequent Filings Exist
The good news for bankruptcy filers is there are no limits on the number of times a person can file for bankruptcy. However, the bankruptcy courts do not want to see individuals misuse the system with multiple filings made in bad faith. It is for this reason that the law does impose certain statutory requirements and prerequisites that filers must meet to be able to file again. If an individual has filed for bankruptcy previously, it is important that he or she contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney to discuss the options available, as well as the requirements for filing again.
Previous Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Filing
If the previous bankruptcy filing was a Chapter 7 case, the individual must wait at least eight years from the date of the previous bankruptcy filing before filing a second filing, if that person wants to file another Chapter 7 case. However, if the person filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case for the first filing but now wants to go forward with a Chapter 13 reorganization case, the time is shorter, and that person must only wait four years from the date of the first bankruptcy filing date.
Previous Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Filing
If the previous bankruptcy filing was Chapter 13, certain time limits do apply. If the previous case resulted in a bankruptcy discharge, the filer must wait at least six years from the date the first Chapter 13 case was filed before he or she can file for and get another discharge in a later Chapter 7 case. However, exceptions do exist to this rule. If the filer paid back all of his or her unsecured debts or at least 70 percent of the unsecured debts were paid, and the plan was to pay them back in good faith, the six-year rule does not apply. If the later case is a Chapter 13 bankruptcy again, the filer cannot get a later Chapter 13 bankruptcy unless the case has been filed at least two years after the date the first case was filed.
Case Dismissed with Prejudice
However, other exceptions exist to the rules listed above. The filer can be prohibited from filing a later bankruptcy case if the bankruptcy court dismissed the previous bankruptcy case with prejudice, meaning the person who had filed the case failed to comply with court orders, filed multiple cases with the purpose of deceiving creditors or the case was not filed in good faith.
If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com