It is the season for spring cleaning, and many people who are sheltering in place now may have the time to go through piles of old documents. Perhaps some of those documents are related to a bankruptcy case that you filed in the past. This may make you wonder: Could you file for bankruptcy again if you needed to? As shown by the massive layoffs because of the pandemic, circumstances that are beyond your control can cause financial stress that limits your ability to repay your debts. Bankruptcy can work just as effectively for you as it did before, but there is a minimum waiting period before you can receive bankruptcy discharge again.
What Does the Waiting Period Mean?
There is no time limit to file for bankruptcy again, but you have to wait a few years before you can discharge your debt again. Most individuals choose between filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Discharge is one of the most powerful bankruptcy tools because it allows you to clear your unsecured debt without having to repay all of it. You ideally want to have that tool available if you need to file for bankruptcy a second time. However, it may make sense to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy without intending to discharge your debts if you need help repaying secured creditors or non-dischargeable taxes after a Chapter 7 case. While you may not be required to repay the secured debt, it may be necessary if you want to keep the secured property.
How Long Are the Waiting Periods?
The number of years you must wait until you are eligible to discharge your debt through bankruptcy depends on the date you filed, which chapter you previously filed under and which chapter you will be filing under. The waiting period is:
- Eight years if you previously filed for Chapter 7 and want to file for Chapter 7 again
- Four years if you previously filed for Chapter 7 and want to file for Chapter 13
- Six years if you previously filed for Chapter 13 and want to file for Chapter 7
You can waive the waiting period when filing Chapter 7 after Chapter 13 if you repaid at least 70 percent of your debts in the previous case. It is also important to note that the waiting periods start from when you filed for bankruptcy and not when your case ended.
Contact a Denton County Bankruptcy Attorney
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy during these uncertain times, you need to talk to a Frisco, Texas, bankruptcy lawyer first. At The Page Law Firm, we offer free consultations by calling 214-618-2101 or emailing us directly at [email protected]