As long as a bankruptcy court has not barred you from filing, you can file bankruptcy again pretty much right away. However, you may not be eligible to receive a discharge. There would be no point to filing a Chapter 7 unless you are eligible for a discharge, but there may be reason to file a Chapter 13 whether you are eligible or not. A discharge means that the bankruptcy court releases you from qualified debts. Your bankruptcy case has gone through and been completed – ie: discharge received.
Let’s assume you want to file another bankruptcy and need to be eligible for a discharge. This table shows the time period that would need to be met in order to be eligible for a discharge in your new case:
If you filed bankruptcy not that long ago and have not hit the time period for you to be eligible to file again, you could discuss with your attorney the benefits of filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy with a waiver of discharge. This would put you under the protection of the court, allow you to stop any garnishments, repossessions, foreclosures, etc, and pay your debts under a Chapter 13 Plan.
There is no limit to the number of times you can file bankruptcy, however the court can bar you from filing again for a certain amount of time (most cases it is barred for 180 days). This may happen if your case is dismissed with prejudice. Typically a case dismissed with prejudice happens if you file multiple cases that are dismissed (using to just delay creditors), fail to obey court orders, or in some other way try to abuse the system. Now if you commit fraud in your bankruptcy case by covering up assets, not telling the truth on your papers, or are deceitful in some other way, the court can bar you from filing bankruptcy for a longer amount of time or even permanently bar you from any debts being discharged that could have been otherwise in your case. Not to mention the possibility of you facing criminal charges surrounding fraud.
You also need to consider the impact of multiple bankruptcy filings in regards to the automatic stay. The automatic stay is what protects you during bankruptcy. If your case was dismissed and then you filed another one within a year, the automatic stay is limited to 30 days. If you had 2 or more dismissals in a year there is no automatic stay. If you’re in either of these situations, your attorney would need to file a Motion to Extend the Stay or a Motion to Impose the Stay. This would provide evidence of there being sufficient reason to have not completed the first case(s) and show that you now can complete your case due to a change of circumstance for the Judge to consider approving.