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Part 1 - Bankruptcy Filing Time Limits - "The 2-4-6-8 Rule"

In light of today's economic struggles, it is not unusual for a Debtor who has previously filed for bankruptcy to need to file a second time for relief from payments to creditors. As such, the question that arises is "How long do I have to wait before I can file for bankruptcy a second time and still get a discharge of allowable debts?"

In order to answer this question, you just apply the simple rule of 2-4-6-8. Here is how it works.

2 years - If you previously filed a Chapter 13 case where you completed the plan and received a discharge, then you can file a second Chapter 13 case after 2 years and receive a discharge.

4 years - If you previously filed a Chapter 7 case and received a discharge, then after 4 years you can file a Chapter 13 case.

6 years - If you previously filed a Chapter 13 case and received a discharge, then after 6 years you can file a Chapter 7 case. There is an exception to this rule. If you paid 100% to all creditors in the first Chapter 13 case or the court finds that you made your best efforts to pay creditors at least 70% of your debts in the prior case, then the rule does not apply.

8 years - If you previously filed a Chapter 7 case, then after 8 years you can file another Chapter 7 case.

Of course, a key factor in these situations is whether the prior case was completed where a discharge order was entered. If the prior case was dismissed before discharge was granted, then a Debtor can refile a case. Therefore, there are no limitations with the time period to file, except where the case was voluntarily dismissed by the Debtor. In that situation , there is a 180 day time limit before a Debtor can file a second case. There are also issues with the length and effect of the automatic stay which apply, but that is a different topic… If you are interested in talking to a bankruptcy attorney about your situation, please call us at (847) 426-7179 for a free consultation . NEXT TOPIC: Part 2 – Bankruptcy Income Limits
Categories: Bankruptcy