Can I File Bankruptcy 2 Times?

Can I file bankruptcy twice?

The general rule is that one can only file a Chapter 7 once during any eight year period. So long as the person filing hasn’t filed in the previous eight years (for Chapter 7, anyway.), he/she/they may file for Ch. 7. For Chapter 13 cases, you must not have filed in the past FOUR years. In some rare cases, a filer may file first a Chapter 7, then four years later a Chapter 13. In the trade, this strategy is know as a “Chapter 20” – although we should be clear here that there is no such thing as a Chapter 20 case filing.

It is rare for a debtor to file bankruptcy more than once in a lifetime. But it’s not unheard of. Sometimes tough times persist. Or they recur. Or, particularly for the most entrepeneurial among us, he or she is more comfortable taking risks than are most of us. Those risks often involve capital which the debtor puts at risk. Sometimes it’s the debtor’s own money. Other times, it could be money others have invested or maybe they have lent to the debtor. Interestingly, many of those who fail often and spectacularly are also those most talented at persuading others to back yet another venture. I suppose it wouldn’t be fair to the rest of us if they always succeeded the first time out of the gate;)

I have represented only a handful of clients in more than one bankruptcy over the past nearly-thirty years in practice. This belies the salacious rumors sometimes repeated by the lending lobby. They tell legislators fictions about how filing bankruptcy is a crutch, an enabling mechanism for the lazy of morally inferior among us. In my direct experience, nothing could be further from the truth. People treat bankruptcy as a last resort – sometimes waiting longer than they really should have. Don’t be that person.

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The Law Office Of Paul Staley provides legal advice and representation for residents of San Diego County. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this or associated pages, documents, comments, answers, emails, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information on this website is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
Paul Staley
Bankruptcy Attorney
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