Will A Prior Bankruptcy Filing Stop You From Filing a New Chapter 7 or Chapter 13?

Filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy After a Prior Bankruptcy Filing

prior bankruptcy filings

A prior bankruptcy filing will not necessarily preclude you from filing a new bankruptcy case---but it can. The criteria determing whether you are eligible to be a debtor in bankruptcy is outlined by the US Bankruptcy Code. One of those criteria is that a sufficient length of time must have passed since a prior bankruptcy filing. What the sufficient length of time is depends both on whether your prior bankruptcy filing was a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 and on whether your are seeking to file a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 currently.

Prior Bankruptcy Filing and New Chapter 7

If a prior bankruptcy filing was a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and you are seeking to file a new Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are not eligible to file if it has been less than 8 years from the filing-date of the prior Chapter 7. If a prior bankruptcy filing was a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and you are seeking to file a new Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are not eligible to file if it has been less than 4 years from the filing-date of the prior Chapter 13. Likewise, if a prior bankruptcy filing, either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13, was dismissed in the 180 days prior to the current desired filing due to your willful failure to appear before the court or comply with the court's orders, or if you voluntarily dismissed the prior bankruptcy filing after a creditor sought relief from the court to recover property burdened by liens held by that creditor, you will not be eligible to re-file until you have passed the 181-day mark. A Chapter 13 petition voluntarily dismissed because, for example, your circumstances worsened and you could not make the required plan payments should not, on the other hand, make you ineligible to file a subsequent Chapter 7 petition, even within 180 days.

Prior Bankruptcy Filing and New Chapter 13

If a prior bankruptcy filing was a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and you are seeking to file a new Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you are not eligible to receive a discharge if it has been less than 4 years from the filing-date of the prior case. If a prior bankruptcy filing was a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and you are seeking to file a new Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you are not eligible to receive a discharge if it has been less than 2 years from the filing-date of the prior case. This is a key distinction between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies. Although you may not be eligible to receive a discharge in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may still file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy, as described here, is a 3-5-year payment plan enforced by the Federal Bankruptcy Court. While you are in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may not be harassed for collections by creditors, including lawsuits, garnishments, repossessions, seizures of property, and foreclosures. Thus, it is possible and sometimes desirable to enter a Chapter 13 bankruptcy purely to repay your debts at a monthly rate that you can actually afford (the Chapter 13 bankruptcy process---unlike the debt-collection and lawsuit process---will take your necessary household expenses into account!) at 0% interest and with no taxable penalty. For otherwise (generally) non-dischargeable debts such as student loans, a Chapter 13 even without an actual discharge available (which would discharge any remaining debt unpaid at the end of the 3-5-year Chapter 13 payment plan) may be vastly more preferable than the vicious student-loan collection industry, which cares nothing for your need to put food on the table to feed your family. As above, also, with regard to new Chapter 7 bankruptcies, if you had a prior bankruptcy filing dismissed in the 180 days prior to the desired filing-date of a new Chapter 13, you will not be eligible to file under the circumstances described above.

Prior Bankruptcy Filings: Talk to an Experienced Attorney

The bottom-line is that, if you have a prior bankruptcy filing and are interested in filing again, you need to speak with an experienced Michigan bankruptcy attorney. Michigan bankruptcy lawyer John M. Hilla and The Hilla Law Firm, PLLC are experienced in counseling clients through the bankruptcy process from start to finish and can work this math for you, making a process that few wish to undertake as simple as possible. If you are a Michigan resident and are considering filing for bankruptcy, contact usat (866) 674-2317 or click the button below to schedule a free, initial consultation.

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