Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcies Time limits

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All too often, those who file for bankruptcy can face significant financial difficulties within just a few years of their filing.  This is particularly true with the current state of the national economy.

What are your options?

When can you file another Chapter 7 or Chapter 13?  Actually, the situation is a bit more complex than you might believe.  Let’s start with the simplest, least complex issue – filing another Chapter 13.

First, if you have previously filed a Chapter 13 and your debts were discharged, you must wait at least two full years from the date of your original filing before you can file another Chapter 13.

Usually, this is not difficult, as it often requires far longer than 2 years for the average Chapter 13 filing to be resolved.  Therefore, if you have completed a Chapter 13, then chances are good that you are eligible to file another one.

However, if you have previously filed Chapter 13, you cannot file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy until at least 6 years have elapsed.  In addition, your debts will need to have either been discharged or paid off by at least 70% to make this a reality.

If you have filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you cannot file another Chapter 7 until eight full years have passed.  In addition, your debts must have been discharged during the course of your bankruptcy.

If you have previously filed Chapter 7 and are considering filing Chapter 13, then you will have to wait at least four years from the date of your original filing, or face the fact that your unsecured debts will not be discharged. 

Given the complexity of this situation, should you even bother filing another bankruptcy?  Actually, it can be quite beneficial, even if you are in a situation in which your debts would not be discharged.

For instance, if you are facing foreclosure, but do not meet the time limits for another Chapter 7, you can use the automatic stay granted by a Chapter 13, even if your debts remain with you.

Filing bankruptcy more than once is a complicate process.  A qualified bankruptcy attorney is the best option for your needs.  Such a professional can detail a plan of action based on your personal situation and help you gain the financial relief you require.

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