The purpose of the U.S. bankruptcy system is to relieve individuals and businesses from debts and protect creditors from severe losses. In a nutshell, this process is built to be balanced and fair for all parties involved. This also means that the nature of the bankruptcy system prevents filers or creditors from abusing the benefits that are offered through court regulations. Behm Law Group, Ltd. offers the legal advice and assistance you need to get the most out of filing for bankruptcy in Mankato, MN, while sticking to the nuanced rules and requirements of the court.
One of the sticking points for the bankruptcy court is when filers appear to be taking advantage of the system with multiple filings. It’s not unacceptable to file for bankruptcy more than once in your life, but when, why, and how you file multiple bankruptcy petitions depends on certain timelines and the failure to abide by those timelines can affect the outcome of your case.
To file a successful case and be eligible for a bankruptcy discharge, it’s important to understand the timeframe stipulations for each type of bankruptcy:
- Chapter 7 cases have to be filed eight years apart for one to be eligible for a discharge. This period starts on the date you file your most recent bankruptcy petition. For instance, if you filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy relief on January 2, 2011, you would need to wait until January 3, 2019 to file chapter 7 bankruptcy in order to qualify for another chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge.
- Chapter 13 cases can be filed much sooner. The period required to pass before you can re-file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy is only two years from the date you file your most recent petition. This means that you could potentially stay within a debt-restructuring bankruptcy plan interminably. Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases must last at least 3 years (they can last up to 5 years,) so you could file a chapter 13 bankruptcy case, get a discharge in 3 years and then file chapter 13 right away again. For instance, if you filed for chapter 13 bankruptcy on January 2, 2015, your case would have concluded in January 2018 but you would have qualified to file for chapter 13 bankruptcy relief again as of January 3, 2017.
Because you can file for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may experience multiple filings of each type. In these cases, the timeframes depend on which case came first:
- If you file for Chapter 7 first, you will face a waiting time of four years before you can file for Chapter 13, starting with your Chapter 7 petition date. For instance, if you filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy on January 2, 2015 and received a chapter 7 discharge, you would not be able to file a chapter 13 bankruptcy and qualify for a chapter 13 discharge until January 3, 2019.
- If you file for Chapter 13 first, you will generally have a waiting time of six years before you can file for Chapter 7 and qualify for a chapter 7 discharge. However, if you’ve fully repaid your unsecured creditors during your Chapter 13 repayment period, you may be able shorten the waiting time with permission from the court. You can also file within a shorter period if your chapter 13 case was in filed good faith, you represented your best effort in the payment plan, and you paid at least 70% of allowed unsecured claims.
If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, we can help whether it’s your first time or not. Contact Behm Law Group, Ltd. at (507) 387-7200 for more information about our counsel and support for bankruptcy in Mankato, MN.