The answer to this question is “yes” but the better question should be how often can I get a “Discharge” in bankruptcy. You actually could file bankruptcy as often as you wanted or until a Bankruptcy Judge ordered you to quit doing so. The point being the purpose of bankruptcy is to obtain the discharge of the debts you are dealing with in almost all cases. There are a few times bankruptcies might be filed to simply delay some creditor action until something could be worked out but in most instances it is the discharge that is the Holy Grail of the bankruptcy filing. The current Bankruptcy Law dealing with Chapter 7 proceedings allows you to receive a discharge once every eight years and the time calculation is made from filing date to filing date. Of course, you would have to qualify for the 2nd case but if everything was in order you would be eligible to file after the 8 years had past from the 1st filing.

Chapter 13 is different in that you do not have to wait 8 years from a previous Chapter 7 case to file, but you cannot get a discharge in the Chapter 13 unless it has been at least 4 years from the filing date of the previous Chapter 7 and you received a discharge in that Chapter 7 case. So, filing date to filing date again, to determine if you could file a Chapter 13 after the Chapter 7 and receive a discharge. This does not mean you could not file Chapter 13 before the 4 years has run, however, you would not be eligible for the discharge in the Chapter 13 case unless that time had run. You could file back to back Chapter 13 cases but unless it has been 2 years between the filing dates of the two cases, you would not be eligible for a discharge in the 2nd filed Chapter 13. This would be very unusual as most Chapter 13 cases last between 3 and 5 years anyway and these discharge rules we are discussing are based upon receiving a discharge in the previously filed case.

As if all of this was not confusing enough, there is also a 6 year rule that states if you file a Chapter 13 and receive a discharge and the Plan pays 100% of the debt to your creditors or at least 70% and it was filed in good faith and was your best effort, you could then be eligible to file a Chapter 7 and get a discharge in that case if the 2nd case is filed more than 6 years from the filing date of the prior Chapter 13.

So in summary, many persons are forced due to financial problems to file bankruptcy several times in their life and there is absolutely nothing wrong with using the Bankruptcy Process if it will help that individual resolve their financial issues. Filing Bankruptcy is certainly not something to take lightly nor would most persons want to file unless absolutely necessary, however, it is a tool provided for in the United States Constitution and available if someone needs relief from oppressive debts.

Give us a call if our office can answer more questions regarding multiple filing of Bankruptcy cases.