The Bankruptcy Code limits how often a person can obtain a bankruptcy discharge. The waiting period between bankruptcies is based on the date the prior case was filed (not the discharge date) and the type of case that was filed and discharged.
Prior Chapter 7 Case
If your previous case was a Chapter 7 and you received a discharge, you must wait eight years from the filing date to file another Chapter 7 or four years from the filing date to file a Chapter 13.
Prior Chapter 13 Case
If your previous case was a Chapter 13 and you received a discharge, you must wait six years from the filing date to file a Chapter 7 or two years from the filing date to file another Chapter 13. Considering Chapter 13 Plans generally run for a minimum of three years, it is possible to get a discharge in a Chapter 13 and immediately refile another Chapter 13 case.
Exceptions to the Rule
As with every rule, there are some exceptions. If, for example, your Chapter 13 paid 100% of the allowed unsecured claims or 70% of the allowed unsecured claims and you can show you gave your best effort in a Plan filed in good faith, you can file a subsequent Chapter 7 without waiting six years.
On occasion, it may be beneficial to file a Chapter 13 even if you are not eligible for a discharge. This may be an effective way to stop the foreclosure of your home and catch up the missed mortgage payments.
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