How long do I have to wait between Bankruptcy filings?

After the Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA), the wait times between filing various chapters of bankruptcy changed. For chapter 7 cases, Section 727(a)(8) of the Bankruptcy Code controls and for Chapter 13 filings, Section 1328(f) of the Code controls.

These waiting periods are summarized in the following table:

Previous
Case
New Chapter 7     Must Wait New Chapter 13
Must Wait
Chapter 7 8 years 4 years
Chapter 11 8 years 4 years
Chapter 12 6 years* 4 years
Chapter 13 6 years* 2 years

 

* Unless debtor’s previous plan paid 100 percent or 70 percent with good faith and best effort requirements met; then no waiting period is required for eligibility for discharge.

As you can see, the waiting time between discharges is considerable. But, when measuring the waiting period it is important to note that the time is measured from the date you filed not that date of discharge. So, for example, if you filed a bankruptcy on January 1, 2014, but received your discharge order on April 20, 2014, you could file again on January 1, 2022. It is also important to note that these periods affect your ability to obtain a discharge. Therefore, if your first bankruptcy was dismissed and you did not receive a discharge, you may be eligible to refile in a much shorter time.

Filing a bankruptcy is a serious step and it is a good idea to review your options under the Bankruptcy Code with an experienced attorney before filing. Failing to do so can affect subsequent filings and also the automatic stay, a topic for another post.