The Honest Truth: How Often Can You File Bankruptcy?

Posted by William Kain on April 17, 2014 at 11:28 AM
William Kain

Hello, my name is Jane. I am just an average working woman, trying to make ends meet and keep the bills paid. In my mind, bankruptcy should only be relied upon when things are beyond control. However, in my experience, I know that situations can easily and quickly spin out of control. Throw one wrench into a perfectly planned and executed budget – like an unexpected car accident that results in thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills and a vehicle purchase to replace the one that was totaled – and there you are again, buried in debt.

This happened to me just six years ago, and filing bankruptcy was my only alternative to save my home from foreclosure. I was able to get back on my feet, rebuild my finances and even began an emergency fund just in case something happened. Life tends to be unpredictable, and I find myself facing foreclosure once again, thanks to another wrench, with no idea what to do. I wondered, “How often can I file bankruptcy?”

How often can you file bankruptcy 2I never imagined I would need to file a bankruptcy case once, much less twice. I had so many questions such as, “Because I filed bankruptcy before, is bankruptcy even an option at this point?” and “Is it okay to seek relief through bankruptcy again, for similar reasons?” I lost my job last year and, while unemployment benefits helped, I began falling behind on my debts. I searched for a job but was unable to find a position, even looking for jobs that were outside my field of experience. When my unemployment benefits ran out, I was willing to take any job that I could find; however, I was either overqualified or under-qualified. At last, I found a job, but by that time I was so far behind on my bills, including my mortgage, that I would never be able to catch up without help. I was unsure what the right path was under these circumstances, so I turned back to Kain and Scott. They whole-heartedly supported me through my first bankruptcy, so I turned to them again in my time of need. Here is what they shared with me when I bluntly asked, “How often can you file bankruptcy?”

We Understand Financial Distress

When Jane came to our office, I assured her that there is no shame in needing to file a second, or even third, bankruptcy case. The Bankruptcy Code is in place to help individuals who need relief from the unexpected twists and turns that life throws at us. Some individuals may never experience a catastrophic financial crisis, while others may experience two or three during their lifetime (just as some people go their entire life without a speeding ticket while others of us seem to be a magnet for them). When a financial crisis grips you, bankruptcy is the vehicle Congress enacted to help you, when you need it the most.

As far as how often you can file bankruptcy, there is no limit on the number of times that you can file. The true question is, “How long between bankruptcy filings must you wait to receive another bankruptcy discharge?” Whether you are eligible to receive another bankruptcy discharge depends on the chapter of bankruptcy you filed, and when it was filed. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can review your previous bankruptcy filing to advise if you are eligible for another bankruptcy discharge at this time. Below is a general guideline for refiling a bankruptcy case to obtain a bankruptcy discharge.

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If you would like your previous filing reviewed, or simply have questions about a second or third bankruptcy filing, request a free consultation.

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Topics: Bankruptcy, Personal Experiences