For most people, bankruptcy is a once in a lifetime experience. They use it as a tool to repair their financial standing and ensure they have the same opportunities in the future as someone who never faced financial hardship.
For some though, bankruptcy is not enough to change their approach to money. And in some very unfortunate cases, someone coming out of a bankruptcy with the best intentions encounters a serious financial crisis due to job loss or expensive medical issues. For these people, a second bankruptcy might be necessary.
Until the fall of 2005, it was fairly easy for people to file multiple bankruptcies. Federal laws have made this more difficult in order to prevent consumers from being taken advantage of by unethical bankruptcy professionals. Though more difficult than before, multiple bankruptcies in a lifetime are still possible when necessary.
What should you consider and what steps should you take if you think a second bankruptcy might be necessary?
Determine If You are Eligible to File for Bankruptcy Again
First, you need to determine if you are eligible to file again. Chapter 7 bankruptcy filers might need to wait eight years after their discharge date to file another Chapter 7. Chapter 13 filers will need to wait six years before they are eligible to file for Chapter 7. The shortest length of time anyone is eligible to file again is four years for original Chapter 13 filers now seeking Chapter 7. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you determine your eligibility for an additional bankruptcy.
Those filing for bankruptcy more than once will likely be required to take a financial management court and might also be required to work with a credit counselor. In most cases, these steps are required before he or she can begin filing for either Chapter 7 or 13.
Work with a Bankruptcy Attorney to Help You File
Once eligibility for second bankruptcies is established, the process of filing is fairly similar to what first-time filers face. Income requires must be met and a debt re-payment plan will be established for Chapter 13 filers. Working with a bankruptcy attorney during second filings is just as important as it is for first-time filers. The process is complicated and if you make mistakes when filing, your bankruptcy request can be denied. An attorney will ensure your paperwork is completed correctly and on time so your case is not thrown out of court.
The bankruptcy process can last anywhere from a few months to three years. During this time, it is important you make wise financial decisions and be aware of the consequences of financial mistakes. A second bankruptcy is often more avoidable than the first, so it is important you correct the mistakes you made the first time around. If your second filing was unavoidable for any of the reasons mentioned above, work closely with a financial expert who can offer advice on managing your finances, even when faced with uncontrollable circumstances.
If you would like to know more about filing for bankruptcy multiple times or you have any questions about bankruptcy, contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at 813.254.5696.