Technically, there is no limit on the number of times you can file for bankruptcy, but there is a limit on the number of times you can receive a discharge of your debts. If you satisfy the bankruptcy filing eligibility requirements, you may file for bankruptcy again. To be eligible for a Chapter 7 discharge, you must wait 8 years after a prior Chapter 7 filing or 6 years after a prior Chapter 13 filing. The waiting period to receive a Chapter 13 discharge is 4 years after a prior Chapter 7 filing or 2 years after a prior Chapter 13 filing.
As with any bankruptcy filing, you cannot receive a discharge of student loan debt, tax debt, child or spousal support debts, or debts incurred as a result of criminal or negligent behavior. Although some debts may be dischargeable through a second bankruptcy filing, doing so may not always be in your best interest. If you have secured debts, such as mortgages or collateral-based loans, you will not be able to discharge these debts. When filing for bankruptcy a second time, having more secured debts than unsecured debts (such as credit cards and medical expenses) may prevent you from receiving the necessary debt relief. Conversely, unsecured debts are dischargeable in bankruptcy, and a second filing may provide the debt relief you desire.
In certain situations, you are prohibited from filing a second bankruptcy for at least 180 days after the dismissal of your first petition. Before their bankruptcy case can be discharged, the debtor must complete a credit counseling course and submit the required documentation. If the necessary court orders are not followed, the bankruptcy case may be dismissed. If your case was dismissed for failing to comply with the bankruptcy court's orders, you may be prohibited from refiling for 180 days.
Filing for bankruptcy a second time can affect your eligibility for an automatic stay protecting you from creditors. During the bankruptcy process, the automatic stay prevents creditors from pursuing collection efforts. If your previous bankruptcy is dismissed, you may not receive the automatic stay's full protection. The typical duration of the automatic postponement following a second bankruptcy filing is 30 days. In order to receive the complete protection of an automatic stay during your current bankruptcy case, you must demonstrate your legitimate need for the protection in court.
Whether you are filing for bankruptcy protection for the first time or a subsequent time, it is prudent to seek the advice of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. In your challenging time, bankruptcy attorneys are experienced professionals who can guide you through the process.""
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