Maybe you filed for bankruptcy years ago after you let your credit card debt get out of hand. You learned your lesson and swore you’d never let yourself get in that much financial trouble again.
However, the last couple of years have been uniquely tough. Maybe your hours got cut. On top of that, you may have been hit with some unexpected medical bills.
Whatever your situation, if you’re considering bankruptcy once again, you’re probably wondering if it’s even possible to file more than once. If so, how long do you have to wait after the first bankruptcy (or your most recent one) to file again? Let’s look at the rules under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
Waiting periods vary
First, there’s not a limit on how many times you can file. There are, however, limits on how often you can file.
The standard waiting period between the time your previous bankruptcy case was discharged (when you satisfied all of the conditions of that bankruptcy case) and when you can file again depends on your previous type of bankruptcy and the type you’re seeking to file, as follows:
- Two Chapter 7 bankruptcies: 8 years
- Chapter 13 followed by Chapter 7: 6 years
- Chapter 7 followed by Chapter 13: 4 years
- Two Chapter 13 bankruptcies: 2 years
This last one is the least likely since Chapter 13 bankruptcies involve a three-to-five-year reorganization plan. However, if your bankruptcy was discharged early because of an extreme hardship, you may be able to refile in two years.
Note that there are circumstances in which you can get the waiting period on the second and third scenarios waived under certain circumstances. Every situation is different, so if you’re considering filing for bankruptcy a second or subsequent time, it’s best to seek experienced legal guidance.