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How Often Can I File For Bankruptcy?

The answer to this question depends on which chapter of bankruptcy you file. The bankruptcy code makes it clear that there are certain time periods and provisions for every petition that is filed. And if those rules are not followed, it is possible that whatever chapter you ended up filing is dismissed.

In regards to a St. Louis Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the rules are pretty straightforward: The code states clearly that a Missouri Chapter 7 can only be filed every eight years. So long as a full eight years have passed since the last time you filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy (and all other qualifications are met), then you can file a new Chapter 7. If it is still within the eight year time frame, you can still file for bankruptcy. But your options are at that point limited to a St. Louis Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Speaking of Missouri Chapter 13 bankruptcy, there are a few rules that need to be understood for this chapter as well. In general, it is possible to file many different Chapter 13s over time. So long as each filing was not done fraudulently, there is really no limit to the number of 13s you can file. However, it should be noted that if the number of bankruptcies filed reaches a high number, the judge and/or Trustee may very well argue that you have abused the system and disallow any further filings until a sufficient period of time has passed.

One other rule that has some significance deals with the timing of a Chapter 13 filing. If the reason for your Chapter 13 filing is because you are still within the eight year timeframe imposed by the courts before you can file another Chapter 7, it is important to note that a full four years must pass between when you filed your Chapter 7 and the Chapter 13 in order to get a discharge from your unsecured debt. So for example, if you filed a Chapter 7 in 2009, you can certainly file a Chapter 13 now. But you will not be able to receive a discharge of unsecured debt (credit cards, medical bills, payday loans, etc.) in the 13, because a full four years have not yet passed since the filing of the Chapter 7.

The rules can appear convoluted (and sometimes they are). But this is why it is so terribly important to retain a law firm with knowledge and experience. The St. Louis bankruptcy attorneys at Brinkman & Alter, LLC have been practicing for over ten years, and have the skills necessary to guide you through this process. Our goal is get you back on the road towards financial health, and get you the fresh start / clean slate you deserve.

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