Bankruptcy may be considered to be an extreme measure of debt relief, but there is nothing to prevent people from experiencing extreme debt situations more than once in their lives. Many famous and ultimately wealthy individuals throughout U.S. history have had to resort to personal bankruptcy on more than one occasion. So how often can a person file for bankruptcy? The answer depends heavily on the type of bankruptcy one petitions for. This post will address the question with regard to the two kinds of bankruptcy used most often by individuals, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.
Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, if you have already filed once you cannot make use of Chapter 7 again until eight years have passed after the first filing. But if your second bankruptcy filing is under Chapter 13, then instead of eight years the waiting period is reduced to four years.
If file for bankruptcy under Chapter 13, and you want to file a petition for a subsequent time using the same chapter, you must wait two years from the date of the first filing before you can petition for a second filing. If you want use Chapter 7 protection after having filed under Chapter 13, the wait period becomes six years.
There is no limit to the number of times that you can petition for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, as long as you adhere to the time intervals described above. But be aware that there are some variables that can affect the wait periods. Most notably, if you file for Chapter 13 twice, and the bankruptcy court does not confirm your repayment plan for the second filing, then your Chapter 13 petition becomes a Chapter 7 (and the Chapter 7 wait period rules will apply).
This post is intended for general informational use, and should not be taken as legal advice. If you have filed for bankruptcy in the past and believe that you may need to do so again, a Pennsylvania bankruptcy practice law firm can provide you with guidance so that you will know what your particular time constraints may be.