January 17, 2017

When considering bankruptcy, it is important to consider the timing of any prior bankruptcy that you may have filed.  The timing of any previous bankruptcy can affect whether you are currently eligible to file another case, or potentially even whether the protection of the bankruptcy stay would apply to your new case filing. 

 The following is a general description of the bankruptcy waiting periods:

Chapter 7 to Chapter 7:  If you received a discharge from a previous Chapter 7, then you must wait 8 years to file a new chapter 7 from the date you filed your previous case.

Chapter 7 to Chapter 13: If you received a discharge from a previous Chapter 7, then you must wait 4 years to file a new chapter 13 from the date you filed your previous case.  However, the nature of a Chapter 13 may allow you to pay a debt, like tax liability incurred within the last three years, that is not normally discharged as part of a Chapter 7  proceeding.  This is often referred to as a Chapter 20.  Even if not eligible for a new discharge, a chapter 13 can be an effective tool in managing debts, like income tax liability, when filed soon after a previous chapter 7.    

Chapter 13 to Chapter 7: If you received a discharge from a previous Chapter 13, then you must wait 6 years to file a new chapter 7 from the date you filed your previous case.   There are two exceptions to this rule.  If in the previous 13 you paid all of your unsecured debt in full, or at least 70% of your unsecured debts were paid and your plan was proposed in good faith, then you could file a Chapter 7 before the 6 year period has run and still be eligible to receive a discharge. 

Chapter 13 to Chapter 13: If you received a discharge from a previous Chapter 13, then you must wait 2 years to file a new chapter 13 from the date you filed your previous case.  It usually takes three to five years to complete a Chapter 13 repayment plan, which means most people would be able to file another Chapter 13, if necessary, when the previous case is discharged. 

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