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Milwaukee, WI Bankruptcy Law Blog

Saturday, May 27, 2017

How Many Times Can You File For Bankruptcy?

At its core, the bankruptcy system is all about giving people a second chance. But what if one second chance isn’t enough? What if a few years down the road you once again find yourself in financial trouble? Just how many times can you file for bankruptcy?

The short answer to this question is that you can file as many times as you need to. That’s what they are there for, and there is no shame in taking advantage of laws that were designed to help you out.

The longer answer is that the type of bankruptcy you file impacts the length of time you might want to wait to file again. If you have had debts discharged in bankruptcy, you will not be able to discharge more debt for a certain number of years. The amount of time you need to wait between filings in order to be eligible for a discharge depends on what chapter of the bankruptcy code you previously filed under, and what chapter you want to file under this time. 

If You Previously Filed Under Chapter 7

Chapter 7 bankruptcies are the most popular type of personal bankruptcy because the debtor gets most of their debt discharged. Last year 11,980 Wisconsinites filed this type of bankruptcy.

Because there was a discharge involved, debtors who previously filed under Chapter 7 must wait 8 years to file another Chapter 7 bankruptcy and get more debt discharged.

If you want to file under Chapter 13 instead of Chapter 7 this time around, you need to wait just 4 years to file. However, Chapter 13 bankruptcies involve a repayment period that lasts at least 4 years, so no discharge will happen for 8 years anyway.

If You Previously Filed Under Chapter 13

If you previously filed under Chapter 13, you probably remember the repayment plan the court put you on. If you paid 100% of the debt owed to your unsecured creditors during your Chapter 13 bankruptcy, or you paid at least 70% of the claims in your Chapter 13 case and you proposed the plan in good faith and used your best effort to repay creditors, you can file for bankruptcy again under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 virtually immediately.

If you had any debts discharged at the end of your Chapter 13 process, you must typically wait 6 years from the date of your filing to qualify for a discharge under Chapter 7. If you want to file under Chapter 13 again, you must wait 2 years to qualify for another discharge.

Waiting Is Just Not Possible

If you are in a situation where waiting years to file for bankruptcy again is just not possible, don’t hesitate to go ahead and make an appointment with a bankruptcy attorney. There may still be some legal actions you could take to improve your financial situation.  


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933 North Mayfair Road, Suite 107, Milwaukee, WI 53226
| Phone: 414-436-8428