If I filed for bankruptcy before, am I eligible to file a new Chapter 13 bankruptcy case?

Find out if you can still file Chapter 13 bankruptcy if you've filed before.

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The general answer is you can file another Chapter 13 bankruptcy case after a previous Chapter 13 case.  Now, there are some exceptions to this.  For example, if your prior Chapter 13 bankruptcy case contained a Motion to Modify the Automatic Stay, and then you bring a voluntary Motion to Dismiss, then you are barred from filing for a six-month period.  In other circumstances, if your case was dismissed for willful violation or disobedience of a court order, then you will be barred for 180 days from filing.

There are also some restrictions on whether or not you can receive a discharge in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case after you’ve had a prior discharge.  Typically, it’s two years after the filing of a prior case in which you received a discharge would you then be eligible to receive a discharge again. 

Since Chapter 13 bankruptcy law is a complex area and each case is different, you want to consult with an experienced, competent attorney in your local area who handles Chapter 13 bankruptcy on a day to day basis.  You might find that Chapter 13 is not your best avenue for relief.  You might find that Chapter 7 is your best avenue for relief.  In some cases, someone will file a Chapter 7 first and then follow that up with a Chapter 13, depending upon the particular situation.

When in doubt, explain everything in advance to your attorney and do not withhold any information.  You want to be open and honest with whether or not you filed a prior bankruptcy and whether or not you have property and assets and liabilities that the debtor and the attorney need to know about.  By being completely honest and open with your attorney, you will have the best chance of success going forward with your case.

For more information on whether Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is available to you, see Are You Eligible for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

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