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Can I File a Second Chapter 7?

Posted by Kevin on February 22, 2012 under Bankruptcy Blog | Be the First to Comment

I have spoken with a number of people who are in a tough economic situation because of the ongoing recession.  The economy soured in 2008.  They were laid off in 2009, and have been on unemployment since then.  In the meanwhile, they have accumulated debt and fear legal action. Or have had judgments entered against them.   Normally, the simple answer is that such a person would be a candidate for bankruptcy.  But, there is an added wrinkle.  The person filed Chapter 7 before and received a discharge.  Can that person file bankruptcy again?

The law is that a person can file a Chapter 7 and receive a discharge but only if the second filing is 8 years after the first filing.  How do you measure the 8 years?  Say you filed Chapter 7 on August 1, 2004 and were discharged on January 15, 2005.  When can you file Chapter 7 again and get a discharge?  The answer is August 2, 2012.  We measure the 8 years from filing date to filing date.

What if you accumulated new debt shortly after your first discharge or you fell behind on your mortgage.? Creditors are not going to wait 8 years.  Well, you can file a Chapter 13 and obtain a discharge of debts if the Chapter 13 filing is 4 years after the Chapter 7 filing.  Once again, the 4 years is measured from filing date to filing date.

These are the basic rules.  In future blogs, we will explore situations where it may be advantageous to file a Chapter 13 within 4 years of filing a Chapter 7.

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