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What Issues Can Arise If I File Bankruptcy More Than Once?


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4/20/2012
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What Issues Can Arise If I File Bankruptcy More Than Once?
There are certain restrictions with regard to how often people can file bankruptcy petitions, and some issues can arise if a person files bankruptcy more than once.  As a general rule, a person can file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy eight years after they file another Chapter 7.  If a Chapter 13 is filed first, a person can file a Chapter 7 four years later.  If a person files a Chapter 7 first and then a Chapter 13, the waiting period is six years.  Going from a Chapter 13 to another Chapter 13 only requires a waiting period of two years.  If the case is dismissed for some reason, that bankruptcy does not count in these figures.
If a Debtor is not eligible to receive a discharge under a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy because of the time restraint, they will not be able to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but the Debtor can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  However, they will not be able to receive a discharge under the bankruptcy if six years have not passed since the filing of the Chapter 7 or 2 years since the filing of the Chapter 13.  They will ultimately have to dismiss and re-file when they are eligible for a discharge.
There are other issues that can arise if people file several bankruptcies in a short period of time, even if they are dismissed and not discharged.  If a person files a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and has had another bankruptcy case pending in the last year, there is only a 30 day automatic stay, and a Motion to Extend the Automatic Stay will need to be filed.  If there has been two or more cases pending in the last year at the time of the filing of the Chapter 13, there is no automatic stay, and a Motion to Impose the Automatic Stay will need to be filed.  What that means is that there is no automatic stay protecting a Debtor's property until that motion is granted.  That means a vehicle can be repossessed or a house can be foreclosed until the time the Motion to Impose is granted.  A Debtor may want to speak to their attorney about filing for an expedited hearing to impose the stay in a timely manner, but it is up to the bankruptcy Judges about whether they will hear the manner expeditiously or whether it will need to be heard at the next docket.  It is important for attorneys to do a Pacer check on clients before filing using their social security number so they can determine if previous bankruptcy cases have been filed and file motions and advise accordingly.  If you have questions about this, please contact a St. Louis or St. Charles bankruptcy attorney.


Category: Bankruptcy


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