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How many times can a person file Bankruptcy in WI?

Verona, WI |

I won a Judgement for the full amount in small claims case, the defendant appealed the courts decision and then sent a letter to the court on the day of trial to let the decision of the court stand, awarding me a my Judgement, but he added that he would be turning it over to a bankruptcy attorney in the next few days.
The court canceled the hearing and I did some digging. This guy filed Chapter 7 in '05, Chapter 13 in '07, and Chapter 13 in May of '09. The '09 Bankruptcy is still open and he is making payments. Can he file again?? Or is he lying to the court and hoping to bluff me into quitting?

But can you open another file for Bankruptcy if you already have a Chapter 13 open?

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Attorney answers 3


Someone can always file a Chapter 13. In Wisconsin, as in any state in the US, the only restriction is receiving a Bankruptcy discharge. As long as you follow bankruptcy rules, you can obtain the protection of the bankruptcy court.

Sorry that this isn't what you hoped to hear!


You need to know which of these cases ended in a discharge. If a case goes to discharge, someone cannot get another Chapter 7 discharge for 8 years or a Chapter 13 discharge for 4 years. For the Chapter 13 cases, someone cannot get another Chapter 13 discharge for 2 years or a Chapter 7 discharge for 6 years. The times run from filing to filing.

What the defendant can do is dismiss his current 13 and refile. The automatic stay (bankruptcy protection) will only last for 30 days unless the court extends it during those 30 days. You can always object to the stay extension or even to the filing itself.

[I am a Virginia-licensed attorney. This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship.]

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While you must wait at least 8 years between filing two chapter 7 (11 USC § 727(a)(8)) bankruptcies (assuming you got your discharge) you need only wait two years between Chapter 13 cases (11 USC §1328(f)(2)) 4 years between a 7 and a 13 (11 USC § 1328(f)(1)) and six years between a 13 and a 7 (if the percentage to the unsecured creditors was under 70%) (11 USC § 727(a)(9)).

Please make sure you consult an attorney because you must fall under the definition of a debtor and you may have to take extra steps not normally performed in a Bankruptcy in order to make sure you are protected by the automatic stay (11 USC § 362 et seq.)

These times may also be greatly shortened if you did not get a discharge in the first case. Good Luck!

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Disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted in the States of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts only and make no attempt to opine on matters of law that are not relevant to those three States. This advice is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation. Facts and laws change and these possible changes will affect the advice provided here. Consult an attorney in your locale before you act on any of this advice. You should not rely on this advice alone and nothing in these communications creates an attorney client relationship. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author only and the fact that he has worked as an Assistant District Attorney; State Supreme Court Clerk; Special Assistant United States Attorney (Hawaii); Assistant Cornell University Counsel or Judge Advocate, United States Marine Corps should not be relied upon to assume that these statements reflect the policy of these organizations.

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