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Can I file a chapter 7 or chapter 13 after a divorce when we had filed a chapter 7 in 2009?

Saint Paul, MN |

Due to a recent divorce, I am not able to pay my monthly bills and I am looking at options for bankruptcy. My ex-wife and I had filed a Chapter 7 in 2009. Am I able to file a Chapter 7 for my own legal debt now that I would be filing by myself or would my only option be a Chapter 13? How much money would I need up front to file either way?

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Attorney answers 5


No, you cannot file another chapter 7 case until 8 years has passed from the date of filing of your last chapter 7 case in 2009. You can however file a chapter 13 case 4 years after you filed the chapter 7 case to receive a discharge in the chapter 13 case. If it hasn't been 4 years, you may still file a chapter 13 case, but you would not be eligible for a discharge.

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If you filed bankruptcy, it doesn't matter if it was an individual bankruptcy or joint bankruptcy. If you received a bankruptcy discharge, you are on the clock. 8 years between chapter 7. Or 4 years between a chapter 7 and chapter 13. The time runs from filing date to filing date.

Jeremy Judson Cobb

Jeremy Judson Cobb


Yes, for the author, this is b/c a joint case is just two separate cases jointly administered.


The waiting periods between bankruptcy filings do not change due to change in marital status.
■You can file a chapter 7 bankruptcy eight (8) years after the filing date of a prior chapter 7 that ended in discharge.
■You can file a chapter 13 bankruptcy (in order to get a discharge or cancellation of unpaid-for debt) four (4) years after the filing date of a chapter 7 that ended in discharge. You can file chapter 13 bankruptcy prior to the expiration of the above period (to consolidate debt or repay arrears), however you wouldn’t be entitled to discharge (cancel) any debt.

This answer (by San Diego bankruptcy attorney, Asaph Abrams) doesn’t address all facts & implications of the question; it’s general info, not legal advice to be relied upon and exceptions may apply. It creates no attorney-client relationship; it may be pertinent only to CA and/or its Southern District Bankruptcy Court in San Diego. It’s independent of other answers. It may be time sensitive, as in past the “Use by” date: laws and case law change. Hire a bankruptcy lawyer before acting or refraining from bankruptcy or other legal action.


No, after a chapter 7 case, you cannot receive a discharge unless the you have waited at least eight years in the case of a subsequent chapter 7 or four years in the case of a subsequent chapter 13. Note that this measures time from filing date to filing date. Also, it does not mean that the discharge in your later case will be merely delayed until the expiration of the applicable time period, but rather that the debtor will not receive a discharge at all in the subsequent case if it is filed too soon. These limitations do not apply unless you rec'd a discharge in your prior case. See 11 U.S.C. § 727(a)(8) (

Thus, you can file a chapter 13 now (most likely--you'd have to look at your filing date). But you need to consult with counsel because chapter 13 is complicated and often less debtor-favorable than chapter 7. Many attorneys ask for some money up front in a chapter 13 and take some fees out of the chapter 13 plan. Either way, you will have to pay the $281.00 filing fee.


No, you can't file a Chap. 7 - 8 years have to elapse between filings. So, you'd be looking at a Chap. 13 only. Whether or not you can successfully complete a Chap. 13 takes an analysis of your income & debts - many people fail to complete a Chap. 13 because of the obligations it creates. Also, you should be aware that any debts you were assigned in the divorce that weren't dealt with in the Chap. 7 will still have to be paid - the bankruptcy didn't eliminate the divorce-imposed obligations (if any). You need to sit down with a bankruptcy attorney to discuss options.

We can be reached at 507.334.0155 (Toll Free: 888.777.5009). Our web address is: www. Answers on Avvo are not to be considered a response to a specific legal issue in a specific jurisdiction - they are to be considered only general responses to hypothetical scenarios posed by the questioner. For specific legal advice, please consult with a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction. No information contained herein should be construed as a solicitation for business, an offer to perform legal services in any jurisdiction in which the attorneys of Corbin Law Office are not licensed, or the dissemination of legal advice. No creation of an attorney-client relationship should be assumed or implied. We are a debt relief agency. Corbin Law Office helps people file for bankruptcy relief under the bankruptcy code.

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