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Can someone file for bankruptcy more than once?

Bankruptcy laws have been passed by Congress to protect debtors in Ohio and around the country from the actions of their creditors when they are unable to pay the debts they owe. After receiving relief through a bankruptcy discharge, some people find themselves to be in the unfortunate circumstance of once again needing relief from overwhelming debt. People in this situation may wonder if they are able to file for bankruptcy again, and if so, how soon filing again is allowed.

Although people are allowed to file for bankruptcy more than one time, there are mandatory waiting periods between successive bankruptcy filings. If someone has filed for and received a discharge under Chapter 7 bankruptcy previously, he or she cannot file for a new Chapter 7 bankruptcy for eight years.

Although debtors can file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy at any time, he or she will not be eligible for a discharge of debt if they have filed and received a discharge under Chapter 7 within the four previous years. If the first bankruptcy was under Chapter 13, the debtor must wait for six years to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or two years to file a new Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

It is possible to file for personal bankruptcy more than once. People who need to do so must be mindful of the statutory waiting periods depending on the type of bankruptcy they wish to file. If a new bankruptcy is filed before the waiting period is over, the debtor stands to have his or her bankruptcy case dismissed and to not secure the desired discharge of debts. People in this situation can receive more information about a new filing by speaking with a bankruptcy attorney about the appropriate timing.

Source: Ohio State Bar Association, "Can I file bankruptcy more than once?", October 27, 2014

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