The National Bankruptcy Forum in discussing this issue may have said it best on the question of “how often can you file bankruptcy?” As explained on their website:

“While you can file bankruptcy as many times as you like, you can only receive a discharge every so often. Wiping away debts and getting a fresh start through the bankruptcy discharge is the primary goal of most debtors. The question then is not really ‘how often can you file bankruptcy?’ as much as it is ‘how often can you receive a discharge of debts through bankruptcy?’”

Receiving a discharge of debts after filing bankruptcy can be a huge relief, but sometimes it might be only a temporary reprieve. As the years pass, the bills might start piling up again, and unexpected events like illness or layoffs can overwhelm your finances all over again. In these circumstances, the question “how often can you file bankruptcy?” is relevant. The answer to that question may feel a bit complicated since it varies depending on what chapter of bankruptcy you filed previously, and what chapter you currently qualify for. 

Strictly in terms of Utah consumer bankruptcies that successfully received discharges, if your past bankruptcy case was a Chapter 7, you will need to wait 8 years (from the date that your former case was filed) in order to file for Chapter 7 again. If your past bankruptcy case was a Chapter 13, you will need to wait 6 years in order to file for Chapter 7. There is an exception if certain requirements were fulfilled concerning the debt paid off in the earlier Chapter 13 case. If your past bankruptcy case was a Chapter 7, you will need to wait 4 years in order to file a Chapter 13 case. On the other hand, if your past bankruptcy case was a Chapter 13, you will need to wait 2 years in order to file a second Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Please see the table below for a clearer breakdown of how often you can file bankruptcy:

Past  Bankruptcy Current Bankruptcy Received Discharge?Years to wait in between
Chapter 7Chapter 7Yes8
Chapter 13Chapter 7Yes6
Chapter 7Chapter 13Yes4
Chapter 13Chapter 13Yes2

If you are considering bankruptcy as a way to get a fresh start, you are most likely intending to file your case and follow through with it to the end to ultimately receive your discharge of debt. In a Chapter 7 case, this typically takes three to six months after you have filed the case, and in a Chapter 13 case, receiving a discharge can take between three and five years after filing. Contact the team at the Utah Bankruptcy Guy today to see if bankruptcy is right for you.

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