Bankruptcy refilings have different waiting periods

One question in bankruptcy law is about filing for bankruptcy again. The federal Bankruptcy Code sets forth time period rules that apply to filers in Tennessee and across the country. When a person has previously filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, for example, and received a discharge, he or she must wait at least eight years from the date of the previous filing before beginning another Chapter 7.

The time periods petitioners are required to wait vary based on the types of bankruptcy they are moving from and to. A person who has had a Chapter 13 case discharged and closed can immediately file another Chapter 13. For people who have had a Chapter 7 bankruptcy successfully discharged and who are considering filing for Chapter 13, the waiting period is four years after the date the Chapter 7 was filed. This combination is sometimes referred to as a Chapter 20 bankruptcy.

For individuals who have previous completed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the waiting period is six years after the discharge before they can file for Chapter 7. It may be possible in some cases to file before the six-year waiting period has passed. The petitioner in such situations must have paid off 70 percent or more of the Chapter 13 plan and show that he or she has made best efforts to repay according to plan. It is also possible in some cases to convert a Chapter 13 into a Chapter 7.

People who are considering bankruptcy to eliminate debt in Tennessee might want to speak with a lawyer. A lawyer with experience handling Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases may be able to help by examining the client's finances and suggesting debt reduction or elimination options. A lawyer might be able to negotiate debt repayment with creditors or draft and file a bankruptcy petition on the client's behalf.

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