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I filed for bankruptcy once, can I do it again?

You, like many other California residents, found yourself in significant debt thanks to job loss, medical bills or a number of other reasons. You filed for bankruptcy, hoping it would be the answer to your fiscal problems. You received approval, but you are still struggling with debt. Now what?

Bankruptcy, in any of its forms, may offer some debt relief right off the bat. You may even feel like you are doing alright a few years down the line. Unfortunately, life likes to throw curve balls, and despite your previous bankruptcy filing, you find yourself dealing with monetary issues again. Did you know you may be able to file for bankruptcy again?

When can I file again?

When you can file again depends on a couple of factors. First, it is necessary to look at your previous filing. What type was it? Second, it is necessary to look at your financial situation now. Bankruptcy may have been the answer before, but it may not be now.

Time limits for filing a second bankruptcy, as previously stated, depend on the type of bankruptcy you filed previously. There are two types of personal bankruptcy: Chapter 13 and Chapter 7. If you have a previously approved Chapter 7 bankruptcy on your record and you wish to pursue another Chapter 7, you will have to wait eight years. If you wish to pursue a Chapter 13 filing, on the other hand, you may only have to wait four years.

Now, if you have a previous Chapter 13 filing approved and on your record, the waiting period before you can file another Chapter 13 is only two years. If, however, you wish to pursue a Chapter 7 this time around, the waiting period is roughly six years. It may be less, depending on how much of your debt you've paid back. If you lacked the ability to meet your Chapter 13 payments and the court dismissed your case, you may be able to re-file immediately.

Don't be a serial filer

While filing for bankruptcy more than once is possible, do not become a serial filer. If you have frequent bankruptcy requests on your record, the court could reject your filing and prevent you from re-filing for a specific amount of time.

Have questions? Get answers

If you've found yourself facing a difficult financial situation again and are wondering if bankruptcy is the right option for you, ask questions. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can review your case, inform you of your options and help you pursue the best course of action for your situation.

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