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How many times can you file bankruptcy?

Definition of StrategyAlthough there is not a limit on the number of bankruptcy cases you can file and no limit to the amount of time in between filings, there are limits to when you are eligible to receive a proper “discharge”.  So why would you want to file a bankruptcy case if you know you cannot receive a discharge?  There are several reasons why this strategy may be utilized.  For example, say that you recently filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy and wiped out your unsecured debt but you have student loan or tax debt that is non-dischargeable.  You could turn around and file a chapter 13 bankruptcy in order to be protected from garnishments, lawsuits, levies, etc relating to the student loans or tax debts for up to 5 yrs even though you would not receive a discharge.

Here are the time frames that must occur between filings for discharge eligibility (Note: the time is counted from date filed to date filed):

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

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

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

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

Don’t rule out bankruptcy solely based on how much time has passed.  You and your attorney can plan and work out a strategy that will get you the needed relief and protection from the court in order to meet your specific situation.

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