Can I File for Bankruptcy More Than Once?
When overwhelmed with debts, bankruptcy is among the possible options to achieve relief or get a fresh financial start. However, you won't automatically become immune to financial challenges, even after filing for bankruptcy once and receiving your discharge. A medical emergency, job loss, or economic setback can throw you into another financial hardship. When considering filing for bankruptcy again, consulting with a seasoned California bankruptcy attorney might be beneficial.
At EH Law Group, we're ready and poised to advise and guide clients through the complicated procedures involved in filing for bankruptcy more than once. Our reliable legal team can assess your unique financial situation, explore your available debt relief options, and determine if you can refile for bankruptcy. We're proud to serve clients across San Mateo, South San Francisco, Daly City, Oakland, San Francisco, and Santa Clara County, California.
Can I File More Than Once?
Yes. In the state of California, consumers are absolutely permitted and eligible to file for bankruptcy more than once. Essentially, there are no statutes or rules specifying the maximum number of times an individual or entity can petition for bankruptcy. However, there are certain rules and considerations governing a consumer's eligibility to refile or file for another bankruptcy.
For example, if you want to file for bankruptcy to prevent creditors from contacting you or collecting outstanding debts, the court may deny your bankruptcy petition. Also, depending on the chapter of bankruptcy you're filing, there is a required waiting period after your last petition before you can file a new one.
What's more, if the bankruptcy court previously denied your discharge due to certain reasons, such as not taking the mandatory financial courses, trying to defraud, or violating a court order, you may be unable to refile. An experienced lawyer can examine all of the facts of your case and advise you about the right chapter of bankruptcy to refile under.
Filing Under the Same Bankruptcy Chapter
A crucial factor to always consider when filing for another bankruptcy is the waiting period. Here's the required waiting period before you can refile under the same chapter:
Chapter 7 to Chapter 7
If you first filed your petition under Chapter 7, you may need to wait for at least eight years before refiling under Chapter 7.
Chapter 13 to Chapter 13
If you first filed your petition under Chapter 13, you only need to wait for up to two years before refiling under Chapter 13.
Filing Under Different Chapters
Here's the required waiting time before you can refile under different chapters:
Chapter 7 to Chapter 13
If you filed your first petition under Chapter 7, you will need to wait for four years before you can refile for another bankruptcy under Chapter 13.
Chapter 13 to Chapter 7
If you filed your first petition under Chapter 13, you may need to wait for up to six years before you can refile another bankruptcy under Chapter 7. However, the waiting period may be reduced to one year if you have completely satisfied your unsecured creditors or no less than 70% of unsecured claims.
Refiling Bankruptcy After a Dismissal
According to the American Bankruptcy Institute, there were 30,973 total business and non-business bankruptcy filings in California in 2022. Refiling for bankruptcy after a prior dismissal can involve several issues, depending on how your original petition was dismissed.
Dismissed Without Prejudice
Furthermore, if the bankruptcy court dismissed your case without prejudice, you can refile bankruptcy at any time or almost immediately. You will need to correct the errors, provide the omitted documentation, and complete the necessary steps that were overlooked in your original filing. Once done, you should be successful on the second attempt.
Dismissed With Prejudice
In contrast, if your original bankruptcy petition was dismissed with prejudice, refiling may be quite difficult. For example, the bankruptcy court may dismiss your petition if you violated court orders, intentionally delayed paying creditors, or failed to maintain good financial standing. If this is your case, you may need to get in touch with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to explore your other available options or determine the next steps to take.
Understand Your Rights during Financial Difficulties
Getting detailed guidance is imperative to understand your options when considering filing for bankruptcy again. At EH Law Group, we have the diligence and knowledge to advise and guide clients in bankruptcy-related matters. Our trusted legal team can assess your eligibility to file for another bankruptcy, determine the right chapter for you, and guide you through the legal procedures involved.
Contact us at EH Law Group today to schedule a simple consultation with knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyers. Our dedicated attorneys can offer you the trusted advocacy and detailed legal counsel you need to make informed decisions when filing for another bankruptcy. We're proud to serve clients across San Mateo, South San Francisco, Daly City, Oakland, San Francisco, and Santa Clara County, California.