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Don’t be afraid of bankruptcy! If you find yourself owing debtors more than you can afford and you want to learn more about bankruptcy, contact the bankruptcy lawyers at Craft Law Offices in Greenville, Morehead City, or Rocky Mount, North Carolina. We can sit down with you and discuss your best options for moving forward. Our goal is to make filing bankruptcy an easier and less frustrating process for you so that you can find financial security.

How often can you file for bankruptcy? Many consumers find themselves in situations where they need to file bankruptcy more than once, even if they’ve worked hard to avoid it. Whether this is from expensive medical bills, job losses, or car loans, you can file bankruptcy more than once. One way to establish how often you can file for bankruptcy is about your prior filing. If your previous bankruptcy case resulted in a successful discharge of your unsecured debts, then the time limit allowed between discharges will depend on the type of bankruptcy you filed originally, and the type you plan to file now.

  • Chapter 7 to Chapter 7 (8 years): if you previously filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and received a discharge and are now looking to file a Chapter 7 case again, you have to wait eight years from the date your prior case was filed.
  • Chapter 7 to Chapter 13 (4 years): if you previously received a Chapter 7 discharge and are now looking to file a Chapter 13 case, you have to wait four years after the date of filing your original Chapter 7. Keep in mind, this time limit only refers to receiving another discharge. There may be a circumstance where you would want to file a Chapter 13 after a Chapter 7 without the intention of obtaining a discharge. Perhaps you got behind on secured payments, like a car loan or real estate mortgage after your Chapter 7 and need the protection of the bankruptcy court to stop a foreclosure or repossession. Perhaps your student loan payments are more than your monthly income can support and filing a Chapter 13 can give you relief by putting you in a payment plan without needing a second discharge. Filing cases in this sequence can be referred to as a “Chapter 20.”
  • Chapter 13 to Chapter 13 (2 years): if you previously filed a Chapter 13 case and received a discharge and are looking to file a Chapter 13 case again, you have to wait at least two years from the filing date of the previous case.
  • Chapter 13 to Chapter 7 (6 years): finally, if you received a Chapter 13 discharge and now are considering filing a Chapter 7 case, you need to wait six years from the first filing date. This waiting period can be waived if you paid back 100% to your unsecured creditors in your Chapter 13 plan (or in some cases where you paid back 70% of your total debts) and the original case was found to be in good faith.

There may be other debt relief options that you should consider, but a bankruptcy lawyer can help talk you through the best decision for your finances. However, it should be noted that a bankruptcy attorney cannot help you file bankruptcy sooner than the time limits set by law. They may help you be able to file a different type of bankruptcy than you filed before, though.

At Craft Law Offices, we want to help you file for bankruptcy and take some of the stress off your plate. Contact us today!