Chapter 7 To Chapter 13
If you filed Chapter 7 the first time and are now looking to file Chapter 13, you need to wait 4 years from your original Chapter 7 filing date to file Chapter 13. Keep in mind, however, that the time limits are if you are hoping to receive a second discharge. You might decide to file a Chapter 13 after a previous Chapter 7 without the goal of discharge if you are now behind on a secured debt that you want to keep and need the plan to catch up on payments. This filing sequence is sometimes referred to as âChapter 20.â
Can I File For Bankruptcy Again
If youve filed bankruptcy before to get a fresh start and have found yourself again under a mountain of debt, you may be wondering can I file for bankruptcy again?
The answer to that question is a matter of timing, the type of bankruptcy you previously filed under , and the Chapter you are now filing under.
Filing For A Second Bankruptcy In California
If you are filing for bankruptcy in California, you are not alone. At close to a quarter million annual petitions, California has more bankruptcy cases than any other state, and 97% of these are consumer filings. For most of these filers, bankruptcy will be a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. But 8% of all bankruptcy filers will return to court in the future to claim bankruptcy once more.
The good news is that if youre struggling with debt, you are allowed by law to file not only for a second bankruptcy but also a third, fourth, etc., if necessary. The caveat is the waiting period between bankruptcies, an issue for which United States Bankruptcy Courts maintain strict stipulations.
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Issues With Chapter 7 Conversion
When you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, part of the process will be that the court will officially approve a repayment plan you must follow to receive a final discharge. If you cant agree on a plan that the court will approve, in some cases, you can convert your filing to Chapter 7.
However, if you already filed once, you have these varying time requirements before your second discharge. So, converting a Chapter 13 filing to Chapter 7 can be a problem. You may be past the amount of time required to receive a discharge with Chapter 13, but not long enough to receive a discharge with Chapter 7.
This makes having the right bankruptcy services on your side even more essential on a second bankruptcy, because you may be navigating some tough waters.
Can You Switch From Chapter 13 To Chapter 7
Things change and life is unpredictable. If youre in the middle of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and arent able to keep up with your repayment plan and fear losing assets, sometimes converting to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy makes sense.
To convert to a Chapter 7, you have to file a notice of conversion first and pay the conversion fee, then you must qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy by taking the means test. This compares your income to your states median income amount. Depending on the court and the state you live in, you may not have to take a means test for conversion.
If youre approved to convert your bankruptcy, you must give up any non-exempt property in order to pay back your creditors. Non-exempt property may include a house or vehicle that was previously saved in your Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Any remaining debt you have is wiped out once the Chapter 7 bankruptcy is discharged, and you can generally finish the process in four to six months.
The Time Between Chapter Filings
The exact amount of time between discharges depends on which type of bankruptcy you use for the first and second filing.
|Chapter 7||6 years from the first filing date*|
*There is an important exception to this rule that you should not. If you paid off all your unsecured debt in full or at least paid off 70 percent of the claims made on a plan entered into in good faith, then you can file for Chapter 7 sooner than this date.
Need help starting the filing process? Were here so you can get the fresh start you need.
The Creditors Meeting And The Vote
Before the meeting date, your Trustee will communicate with the creditors and with you. He or she will learn what conditions the creditors require to vote yes, and what conditions you are able and willing to meet. If agreement is reached, it is a simple matter for the creditors to confirm their approval of the modified proposal by informing your Trustee by phone or email. At this point, 50% of votes must be yes for the proposal to be approved.
Remember that each creditor has a vote for each dollar of their claim.
If the proposal cannot be approved at this point, typically it is withdrawn.
Thus, it is very rare for an actual meeting of creditors to take place.
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What If You Didn’t Receive A Discharge In The First Case
In most situations, you can file again and receive a discharge in the second bankruptcy if you didn’t receive one in the first matter. But that’s not always the case. Also, you lose the full benefits of the automatic staythe order that stops creditors from collectingwhen you file multiple bankruptcies in quick succession.
The court dismissed the first case
- Unless the court orders otherwise, you can file again. A 180-day waiting period may apply if you failed to obey a court order or appear in the case, or you voluntarily dismissed the case after a creditor filed a motion for relief from the bankruptcy stay.
The court denied your discharge
- You might be able to file again, but you probably won’t be entitled to a discharge of the debts listed in your first case. This is another unusual circumstance wherein you would be wise to seek the advice of an experienced bankruptcy lawyer.
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How Long After A Bankruptcy Discharge Is The Case Closed
about four to six monthsFor most filers, a Chapter 7 case will end when you receive your dischargethe order that forgives qualified debtabout four to six months after filing the bankruptcy paperwork. Although most cases close after that, your case might remain open longer if you have property that you cant protect .
Discharged V Dismissed V Denied
If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you dont qualify for a discharge if the prior case was filed within the past eight years and resulted in a discharge.
However, if the case was dismissed then you may not face such a limitation. Were going to need to look into the reasons for the dismissal before making a decision about that.
If your discharge was denied in your first case then you may be able to file again. Any discharge you receive, however, may not include the debts you listed in the original Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Again, were going to need to look into things before deciding how the new Chapter 7 case is going to play out.
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The Automatic Stay Isn’t Always Automatic
Filing a bankruptcy within one year of the dismissal of a previous case comes with consequences: The automatic staythe order that stops collection activitywill last only for 30 days. Your attorney will need to file a motion asking the court to extend the automatic stay to protect you the entire time you’re in bankruptcy.
Also, if you’ve had more than one bankruptcy in the last year, the automatic stay won’t attach at all, and your attorney will need to file a motion asking the court to impose the stay on your creditors.
Can I File Bankruptcy Twice In California It Depends Borowitz & Clark
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Youve already filed for bankruptcy once and received your discharge in court. Congratulations, this is a big step!
Your financial fresh start has been going well but now the bills are starting to pile up again. Maybe its a variable rate mortgage, medical expenses, or simply the increasing cost of living in Los Angeles. Whatever the reason, your finances are in jeopardy, and youre considering filing for bankruptcy again. But how does it work to file for bankruptcy twice in California?
This post lays out the rules and laws regarding a second personal or consumer bankruptcy. Youll find the answers to these and other frequently asked questions: how soon can I file for bankruptcy again? Whats different about filing a second or subsequent bankruptcy? How common is a second bankruptcy?
Lets delve into the facts and begin the path to financial recovery.
Article at a Glance
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Different Types Of Bankruptcy Explained
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy eliminates most debt, including credit card debt, without requiring repayment of any kind. Instead of a repayment plan, the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process liquidates your non-exempt assets to partially repay your debts. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to keep all of your property as long as the monthly repayment plan pays for the value of your assets. The debts that donât get paid as part of the repayment plan are discharged once the plan has been completed. The discharge of your debts gives you the fresh start you need.
The Chapter 11 bankruptcy process provides similar relief to that provided in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, but is generally reserved for filers with businesses or significant assets and is a lot more expensive than even a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This article will focus specifically on Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
No Discharge Chapter 13
Much more common than prison-bound debtors are no-discharge Chapter 13 cases. When they follow hard on a Chapter 7, we sometimes call them Chapter 20 cases: 7 + 13=20.
After BAPCPAs changes to the bankruptcy code in 2005, the four year rule applies to getting a Chapter 13 discharge after a Chapter 7. There must be four years between the filing of the 7 and the filing of the 13 in order to get a discharge of your debts in the Chapter 13.
But the discharge isnt everything.
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Filing Again With Bankruptcy Discharge
Different time limits and waiting periods apply to filing a second bankruptcy after your first filing was discharged successfully. The time frame is based on whether you first filed Chapter 7 or 13, and whether you plan to file Chapter 7 or 13 the second time.
The timing on the waiting period is based on the date you filed, not the date of discharge.
Strip Off The Worthless Lien
While you cant strip off liens in Chapter 7 unless they impair an exemption, in Chapter 13 you can void an utterly underwater mortgage AND strip or bifurcate a tax lien.
Two recent 9th Circuit decisions make it clear that it is completion of the Chapter 13 plan, not the discharge, that entitles you to strip a lien, and that the balance on a lien that survived the Chapter 7 doesnt count for the Chapter 13 debt limits.
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Is It Bad To File Bankruptcy Twice
Not necessarily. Most people who file twice have worked out a strategy with their bankruptcy attorney to deal with their total financial situation, like in the case of Chapter 20 you just read about. Yes, there will be ramifications on your credit, however, there are also ramification to allowing unpaid debt to just remain out there. Solving your debt problem allows you to move on and get a fresh start.
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Need Help Filing A New Bankruptcy
If you find it necessary to file another bankruptcy, we can discuss your situation in depth and complete privacy by phone or at a sit down free consultation.
Orange County bankruptcy attorney, Norma Duenas, is an experienced bankruptcy attorney who graduated from the University of San Diego Law School, Cum Laude. Ms. Duenas has handled many complex Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases. She has previously assisted clients in litigation, immigration matters and has handled hundreds of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases in the Riverside, Orange County, Los Angeles, Temecula and Murrieta areas of Southern California.
If youd like to have a no cost consultation with bankruptcy attorney Duenas, you can make an appointment with our founding attorney, Norman Duenas, by calling or if its after hours and well get back to you.
Aug I Filed Bankruptcy A Few Years Ago Can I File Again
With the grim economic times today, often people who had previously filed bankruptcy are finding that they are facing difficult financial issues today. The question is often asked, can I file bankruptcy today when I had filed a few years ago? As is often the case, the answer depends on very particular circumstances.
If you filed a chapter 7 case and received a discharge of your debts, you may not discharge your debts in another chapter 7 case for eight years from the date that you filed your prior case. So, if on May 15, 2002, you filed a chapter 7 case, you cannot file another chapter case until eight years later, or until Saturday, May 15, 2010 .
If you had previously filed a chapter 7 and received a discharge, you can file a chapter 13 but unless more than four years have elapsed since you filed your chapter 7, your unsecured debts will not be discharged. So if you had previously filed a chapter 7 prior to four years ago, you could still file a chapter 13 and discharge your debts.
If you had previously filed a chapter 13 and received a discharge of your debts, you cannot discharge your debts in a chapter 7 case unless six years has passed from the date of filing your prior chapter 13 case until your new chapter 7 filing unless your unsecured claims were paid in full or they were paid at least 70% and your case was filed in good faith.
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How Can I Get Bankruptcy Fees Waived
If you cannot afford to pay the filing fee in full or in installments, you can file an Application to Have the Chapter 7 Filing Fee Waived . When you file for bankruptcy, you must pay a filing fee. If you cant afford to pay this fee upfront or in installments, you might qualify for a waiver of the fee.
When A Second Filing Might Be Beneficial Even Without A Discharge
Sometimes you don’t need a dischargeyou need time to pay off a debt. For instance, suppose that you owed federal taxes that you couldn’t discharge in bankruptcy, and you could not work out a reasonable payment plan. Rather than have your wages garnished, you could file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and stretch out the payments over a five-year Chapter 13 bankruptcy payment plan.
A similar approach is to file a Chapter 13 case immediately after receiving a Chapter 7 discharge . Again, all you might need is time to pay off nondischargeable debts, such as domestic support arrearagesnot a discharge.
However, not all courts allow the process, and it can be tricky to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and then demonstrate that you have sufficient available income to pay into a Chapter 13 plan. It’s possible, though, after taking into account the debts wiped out. In any case, it would be wise to consult with a local bankruptcy lawyer before attempting to go this route.
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Can You File Chapter 7 Twice
Yes under certain conditions. If your previous bankruptcy was a Chapter 7, and it was fully discharged, you cannot have another Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharged if it was filed less than 8 full years after your original bankruptcys filing date.
Double check your filing date from your previous bankruptcy if you are not absolutely certain that 8 years have elapsed. If 8 years have not elapsed since your last filing, denial of discharge will occur, and you will remain legally liable for your debt.