Sometimes situations can (and do) arise, where an individual has a need to eliminate debt utilizing the US Bankruptcy Code a second or even third time after previously filing. The key to understanding how many times you can file bankruptcy in Georgia is that there is no limit on how many times you can file bankruptcy, but there is a time limit set on bankruptcy discharges.
If your previous case resulted in a successful discharge of your unsecured debts, then the time limit allowed between discharges will depend on the type of bankruptcy you filed originally and the type you now intend to file.
Chapter 7 to Chapter 7 (8 years) – If you previously filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and received a discharge and are now looking to file a Chapter 7 case again, you have to wait eight years has passed from the date your prior case was filed.
Chapter 7 to Chapter 13 (4 years) – If you previously received a Chapter 7 discharge and are now looking to file a Chapter 13 case, you have to wait four years after the date of filing your original Chapter 7. Keep in mind, this time limit only refers to receiving another discharge. There may be a circumstance where you would want to file a Chapter 13 after a Chapter 7 without the intention of obtaining a discharge. Perhaps you got behind on secured payments, like a car loan or real estate mortgage after your Chapter 7 and need the protection of the bankruptcy court to stop a foreclosure or repossession. Perhaps your student loan payments are more than your monthly income can support and filing a Chapter 13 can give you relief by putting you in a payment plan without needing a second discharge.
Chapter 13 to Chapter 13 (2 years) – If you previously filed a Chapter 13 case and received a discharge and are looking to file a Chapter 13 case again, you have to wait at least two years from the filing date of the previous case.
Chapter 13 to Chapter 7 (6 years) – Finally, if you received a Chapter 13 discharge and now are considering filing a Chapter 7 case, you need to wait six years from the first filing date. This waiting period can be waived if you paid back 100% to your unsecured creditors in your Chapter 13 plan (or in some cases where you paid back 70% of your total debts) and the original case was found to be in good faith.
Bankruptcy is not only an excellent way to eliminate debt but is also designed for individuals to exit bankruptcy more fiscally minded and responsible. Barring this, life happens, and even responsible individuals can be struck with a divorce, job loss, medical bills, or other unexpected expenses or reductions in income.
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