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Can you file bankruptcy more than once?

| May 28, 2021 | Chapter 7

When someone’s overwhelmed with debt, bankruptcy is often a viable option for addressing the problem — and it can be an effective way for someone to get a fresh financial start.

But life’s uncertain: What happens if someone ends up suffering another major financial disaster a few years down the line. Can they file bankruptcy again?

There’s no limit on bankruptcies

While there is no limit on the number of times you can receive a discharge, there are limits on how often you can file a bankruptcy petition. For example, you have to wait eight years between Chapter 7 petitions.

There’s no reason to fear the bankruptcy trustee’s reaction if you’re filing for a second or third time, either. You’re not in an uncommon situation. Statistically, 16% of the people who file for bankruptcy are repeat filers. Some of them file repeat Chapter 13 petitions so they can manage debts that can’t be discharged through Chapter 7, while others are simply the victim of unfortunate circumstances, like chronic health problems.

You do need to be cautious, however, that you don’t do anything that could cause your bankruptcy petition to be denied. That can happen if you:

  • Try to conceal any assets: Transferring your assets to someone else, lying on your financial statements or simply not having an explanation for where your assets and money have gone can cause a trustee to deny your discharges.
  • Fail to take required courses: You usually must complete credit counseling and financial management courses before your bankruptcy’s discharge. Even if you feel like they don’t really apply to your situation, that’s a step that you have to go through.
  • Don’t comply with the trustee’s orders: If the trustee issues you any orders, you need to make sure that you comply with them as carefully as possible.

As long as you’re transparent and compliant, there’s no reason the court should deny your discharge.

When debt becomes overwhelming

Bankruptcy was designed to level the playing field for people burdened by unreasonable debts. Don’t be ashamed to take that step — even if you’ve been there before. An experienced attorney can help.



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