If you recently had a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharged, the next time you can file a Chapter 7 again is eight years from the date you filed your original bankruptcy. Not only are there limitations on when you can file again, there are also limits on how many times you can receive a discharge.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Filing Restrictions
You’re technically allowed to file bankruptcy as many times as you want. However, if you've already had a bankruptcy discharged, there are rules about when you can file again. The restrictions vary depending on which type of bankruptcy you filed in the past, and which one you plan on filing now.
According to the legal experts at Nolo.com, there are four different bankruptcy filing situations you can be in as someone who has already filed a personal bankruptcy:
- Chapter 7 to another Chapter 7 – As we stated, you must wait eight years from the date you filed your first bankruptcy in order to file another Chapter 7.
- Chapter 7 to Chapter 13 – Also referred to as a Chapter 20 bankruptcy, you’re allowed to file a Chapter 13 four years from the Chapter 7 filing date, as long as the Chapter 7 bankruptcy was discharged.
- Chapter 13 to Chapter 7 – To file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy after a Chapter 13, you must wait at least six years following the Chapter 13 discharge. In some cases, if you paid 70% to 100% of your unsecured debts in the previous Chapter 13, you may be able to file before the six-year mark.
- Chapter 13 to another Chapter 13 – You’re allowed to file another Chapter 13 bankruptcy as soon as your previous one has been discharged.
What if My Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Was Dismissed?
Ideally, you get through your Chapter 7 bankruptcy and successfully complete it. Unfortunately, in some cases, it’s possible to have your bankruptcy dismissed instead of discharged. A dismissed bankruptcy means it hasn’t been completed – and this can affect your chances of filing another one.
In fact, if you had a case dismissed, the court can stop you from filing for bankruptcy again for a longer period of time than is standard, or ban you from refiling altogether – which is referred to as a 180-bar. The court enacts a 180-bar if you violate protocol, such as if you commit bankruptcy fraud or break court orders.
Simply put: follow your bankruptcy plan and don’t ignore the court’s orders. It’s not worth the future troubles that come with a dismissed bankruptcy. If you have any questions about the process, or need clarification, you can always reach out to your court-appointed bankruptcy trustee.
The Bottom Line
You can file another Chapter 7 bankruptcy as long as enough time has passed and it was successfully discharged. As always, you can reach out to your trustee if you’re confused and need further assistance about the bankruptcy process and re-filing.
If your Chapter 7 bankruptcy was successfully discharged and you’re in the market for a new auto loan, we can assist you with the process. At The Car Connection, we work with dealerships across the country that specialize in helping borrowers in unique credit situations, including bankruptcy, get financed for the vehicles they need.
Fill out our free and easy car loan request form, and we’ll get right to work connecting you to a local dealer!