When and How Many Times Can You File for Bankruptcy Protection?

This personal bankruptcy question was posted on the internet in 2011 in a bankruptcy discussion: “How many times or when can you file bankruptcy again in any state or place?”

In 2005, Congress passed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act in order to control the perceived abuses caused by serial bankruptcy filers. As part of those changes, an individual is limited by law on when you can file, but not on how many times you can file.

There are basically two types of bankruptcies most individuals can file- a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13.

A debtor cannot obtain a discharge in a Chapter 7 case if the debtor obtained a discharge in a Chapter 7 case filed within the past 8 years, or a Chapter 13 case filed within the past 6 years.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be filed 4 years from a prior Chapter 7 filing or 2 years from a prior Chapter 13 filing. The time periods in either case are measured from the commencement dates of the respective cases. The dates of discharge have no bearing on the disqualification.

Congress has also recently made changes in the bankruptcy laws intended to reduce or eliminate the effect of the “bankruptcy stay” for serial filers.

The moment you file a bankruptcy, a judge will order all collecting actions to cease, an important feature called the automatic stay. The automatic stay, applicable to all types of bankruptcy filings, means that the mere request for bankruptcy protection automatically stops and brings to a cessation certain lawsuits, foreclosures, utility shut-offs, evictions, repossessions, garnishments, attachments, and debt collection harassment.

If you have had a bankruptcy dismissed in the previous year, the new changes in the laws now makes the automatic stay only good for 30 days, and the stay will not even come into existence if the filer has had two bankruptcies dismissed in the previous year.

Another change in the law includes being barred from filing a new case for 180 days when a case has been dismissed, if the dismissal is because you willfully failed to abide by an order of the court, to properly prosecute the case, or if it was at your request after a creditor requested relief from the automatic stay.

The laws also imply if you are found guilty of bankruptcy fraud, depending on the severity, you can be barred from filing bankruptcy for up to life.

In order to know whether or when you can file, it would be wise to consult with a bankruptcy lawyer. Bankruptcy laws can be complicated, and common sense indicates you might need a bankruptcy lawyer in order to help you understand how these complex laws may apply in your particular situation.

If you determine you are in need of relief from the stress associated with debt and you live in or around the metropolitan area of Birmingham, Alabama, contact us here today at www.betterbankruptcy.com .We will help you find a bankruptcy attorney in your area that will help you with any questions you may have on bankruptcy law.

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