What Happens If I File Two or More Bankruptcy Cases?


There are a number is issues that can arise if you file more than one bankruptcy case.  The first question is how long has it been since you filed the first bankruptcy case?  Are you filing bankruptcy under the same chapter as the first filed case?  Was the first case dismissed or did you receive a discharge in the first case?  This article focuses on the topics listed above and if you file more than one bankruptcy case under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code.  Consult bankruptcy lawyers in your jurisdiction for more information.

Bar to Filing an Unlimited Number of Bankruptcy Cases

You cannot file an unlimited number of bankruptcy cases.  The bankruptcy code provides bars to filing a bankruptcy case over and over again to receive an automatic stay and stop a foreclosure or wage garnishment.  The code provides that an individual may not be a debtor under Title 11 if in the preceding 180 days has had a case dismissed by the court for willful failure of the debtor to abide by orders of the court, or to appear before the court in proper prosecution of the case or the debtor requested and obtained the voluntary dismissal of the case following the filing of a request for relief from the automatic stay.  A bay to refilling because of either of the following two issues is rare.

Multiple Filed Cases and the Automatic Stay

The first case you file you will receive the full automatic stay stopping any and all collection activity.  If that case is dismissed for some reason and you re-file the second case within one year of the first filed case will only have an automatic stay for 30 days unless you request the bankruptcy court extend the automatic stay.  If the second case is dismissed prior to discharge again and you file a third case within a year of the other two pending bankruptcy cases then there is no automatic stay unless you ask the court to impose the automatic stay.

When Can I File Another Case and Receive a Discharge of My Debts

If you have filed and receive a discharge in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case already there are limitations on when you can receive a discharge of your debts again.

8 years between 7s. -727(a)(8)

2 years between 13s. -1328(f)(2)

4 years between a 7 and 13 -1328(f)(1)

6 years between a 13 and 7(if under 70% plan). -727(a)(9)

For additional information regarding filing bankruptcy or multiple bankruptcy cases please consult a bankruptcy lawyer in your area for more information.