Our bankruptcy attorneys here at Skrupa Law Office, LLC in Omaha and Lincoln field questions all the time from people who need help navigating the ins and outs of various bankruptcies. One of the most common questions we’re asked is how often one can file for bankruptcy, and as with most aspects of bankruptcy law, the answer is a bit complex.
While there’s no limit on how many times you can file for bankruptcy, there is a limit on how often you can file to have your debts discharged.
Rules to Receive a Discharge of Debt
Depending on what kind of bankruptcy you’re filing, the period of time that must pass between filings in order to have your debts discharged in the new filing can vary greatly:
- 8 years must pass between Chapter 7 cases;
- 2 years must pass between Chapter 13 cases;
- 4 years between a previous Chapter 7 and a new Chapter 13 case;
- 6 years between a previous Chapter 13 and a new Chapter 7 case.
These time periods are measured from the dates the cases are filed, not from when the discharge is entered. This means essentially that the 2-year rule between Chapter 13 cases almost never applies, as these cases usually take a minimum of 3 years to complete. By the time a Chapter 13 bankruptcy has been filed and completed, another can immediately be filed and another discharge of debt entered.
Note: It’s important to understand that though these rules prohibit discharges of debt for successive bankruptcy filings in short periods of time, filing bankruptcy may still be a good idea in these situations because you’ll still be granted the benefits of bankruptcy protection, including stoppage of wage garnishment and foreclosure, while the new case is waiting to be resolved.
By Way of Example
What could this mean for your situation? Say that you filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy a year ago and now you’ve lost your job and your home has gone into foreclosure. In this case, you could still file Chapter 13 bankruptcy to invoke protection and stop the foreclosure sale without receiving a discharge of debt.
Our bankruptcy attorneys at Skrupa Law Office know that many people are under the assumption that they cannot file a new case until 8 years have passed, but this isn’t the case. Filing a new case before the required time period has elapsed won’t eliminate new debt, but it can allow up to 5 years to create a structured repayment plan to pay your off your debt.
Contact Skrupa Law Office, LLC Today!
Filing for bankruptcy can be one of life’s most stress-inducing experiences, and many people are unfamiliar with their rights and responsibilities regarding the process. At Skrupa Law Office, our bankruptcy attorneys are here to help you understand the procedures and chart a course for your financial stability. Contact our Omaha office at (402) 999-0247 or our Lincoln office at (402) 464-3311 to schedule a free consultation and get started today!