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How often can an individual file bankruptcy. California

San Jose, CA |

I have a attorney tenant that does not pay his bills.

Internet service says this individual has 3 BK cases in 19 years.

This is state of CA.

Can that be correct.

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

You can file for Chapter 7 every 7 years. Chapter 13 you can file repeatedly.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of California. Responses are based solely on California law unless stated otherwise.


Although there is no specific times set in the bankruptcy code for how may times you can file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, if a certain number of years have not passed since your last filing, then you may not be eligible for a bankruptcy discharge. For Chapter 7 bankruptcy the requirements to be eligible for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge, is that your previous Chapter 7 bankruptcy must have been filed 8 years ago. For a Chapter 13 bankruptcy discharge you can file at any time but whether you will be eligible for a discharge will depend on what type of bankruptcy you have filed in the past and how much time has passed since it was filed.


While bankruptcies can technically be "filed" repeatedly, your Question really pertains to whether a debt owed to you can be wiped out or discharged in a bankruptcy.
Debts are discharged in a Chapter 7 upon completion and in a Chapter 13 when the plan payments are completed.
A debtor, however, can only discharge debts in a Chapter 7 if the debtor has not filed:
1. A previous Chapter 7 within 8 years.
2. A previous Chapter 13 within 6 years.
See 11 USC 727 (a) (8) and (9) which provide:
(8) the debtor has been granted a discharge under this section, under section 1141 of this title, or under section 14, 371, or 476 of the Bankruptcy Act, in a case commenced within 8 years
before the date of the filing of the petition;
(9) the debtor has been granted a discharge under section 1228 or 1328 of this title, or under section 660 or 661 of the Bankruptcy Act, in a case commenced within six years before the
date of the filing of the petition, unless payments under the plan in such case totaled at least -
(A) 100 percent of the allowed unsecured claims in such case;
or (B)(i) 70 percent of such claims; and
(ii) the plan was proposed by the debtor in good faith, and was the debtor's best effort;

Now the rules on getting a discharge in a Chapter 13 are different.
Section 1328(f) provides for a discharge.
1. If the Chapter 13 is filed 4 years after discharge in a previous 7, or
2. Two years after receiving a discharge in a previous 13.

This section provides:
....the court shall not grant a discharge of all debts provided for in the plan or disallowed under section 502, if the debtor has received a discharge--

(1) in a case filed under chapter 7, 11, or 12 of this title during the 4-year period preceding the date of the order for relief under this chapter, or

(2) in a case filed under chapter 13 of this title during the 2-year period preceding the date of such order.

There are of course other issues and if there is a debtor who files multiple times, they can also be sanctioned by the court and the court and also enter an order preventing them from refiling if it considers them an abusive filer.
Bankruptcy is designed to help the honest debtor to get out debt. Judges take a very tough stand on repeat and serial filers who abuse the system.

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