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Is filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 possible a second time?

Pennsylvanians who are experiencing financial trouble and use bankruptcy to get back on stronger ground might run into trouble again. This does not imply that they have done something wrong or they are irresponsible. Myriad issues can arise leading to people having financial struggles and needing to consider filing for one form of bankruptcy or another to discharge debt. Just as in the initial case, job loss, medical costs and other factors can come up. A question that people will often have is whether they can file for bankruptcy a second time and when. Knowing the details of how this can be done is essential to a successful filing to again move forward free of debt.

The person who is filing for Chapter 7 a second time to discharge debt through that process or through Chapter 11 must have eight years elapsed from the previous filing. Otherwise, the court will deny the discharge. A Chapter 7 filing will also be denied if the debtor received a discharge through Chapter 12 or Chapter 13 if it had been filed within six years of the date the second case was filed.

There are exceptions. If the debtor had paid the allowed unsecured claims from the previous case and did so in full or the debtor made payments under the plan that came to 70 percent of the allowed unsecured claims with a plan that had been made in good faith with payments having been made in the debtor's best effort, then the second case can go forward. For a debtor who is seeking to file for Chapter 13, this will not be allowed if he or she had gotten a discharge through Chapter 7, 11 or 12 within four years of the new case or in a Chapter 13 that was filed within two years prior to the new case.

Those who are again having financial issues should be aware that there is the option to file for bankruptcy a second time under the right circumstances. Just as the first filing was done to get back into a better financial position, so too is it viable to file a second time. A legal professional can help with a second filing for bankruptcy and provide advice for other alternatives if bankruptcy is not possible.

Source: uscourts.gov, "Discharge in Bankruptcy -- Bankruptcy Basics -- Can a debtor receive a second discharge in a later Chapter 7 case?," accessed on Nov. 28, 2017

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