Arizona’s Leading Bankruptcy Lawyers Explain How Often You Can File For Bankruptcy
Arizona residents who have already declared bankruptcy are being forced to consider filing again due to the coronavirus pandemic. Our Arizona bankruptcy lawyers explore how this will affect your new case, and offer free consultations for further review of your case.
Times Are Still Tough In 2021, Are You In Need Of Debt Relief?
Without a doubt, 2020 will go down as one of the worst years in modern history. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have passed away due to COVID-19, and the end is nowhere in sight. Unemployment in the United States reached levels unseen since the Great Depression at the pandemic’s peak in 2020. Employment has since gone up, but millions of Americans are still feeling financial strain.
The economic distress caused by the spread of COVID-19 is reminiscent of the 2008 recession. During that time, bankruptcy filings increased by 33%. It’s reasonable to expect a similar increase in filings once CARES Act protections end. If you have filed bankruptcy in the past, you probably never thought you would be in this situation again. No one could have predicted the pandemic, and it may get to the point where you know from experience just how much bankruptcy would help you.
How Many Times Can I File Bankruptcy In Arizona?
One of your concerns about declaring bankruptcy a second time may be if this will permanently disqualify you from filing bankruptcy again. That might be a factor in your decision to file now, or wait as long as possible in case you are ever in a worse financial situation.
The vast majority of people who file bankruptcy don’t intend to do so more than once. There are a few bad apples to try to abuse the system, but that’s what restrictions like income limits, wait periods, and credit card use criteria are there to prevent. If life has dealt you another hand and filing bankruptcy would help, check with a bankruptcy attorney to make sure that you are eligible to file again.
How Long Must I Wait Between Bankruptcy Filings?
The amount of time you must wait between discharged bankruptcies depends on which chapter you filed the first time, and which chapter you intend to file this time. You generally must wait longer to file bankruptcy again after filing a Chapter 7 than after filing a Chapter 13.
If you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy that ends in discharge, you must wait:
- 8 years from your date of filing before filing another Chapter 7
- 4 years from your date of filing before filing Chapter 13
If you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy that ends in discharge, you must wait:
- 2 years from your date of filing before filing another Chapter 13
- 6 years from your date of filing before filing Chapter 7
What If I Am Re-Filing After a Dismissal?
Not every case ends in discharge. The alternative is dismissal. There are a variety of errors that can get your case dismissed. When your case is dismissed, the bankruptcy stops. The protections provided by the Automatic Stay stop as well. It will be up to you to make sure your case is reinstated after a dismissal.
When you refile bankruptcy after a dismissal too frequently, you may lose some of your bankruptcy protections. For example, if you file more than one bankruptcy in a 12 month period, your Automatic Stay will only last 30 days. This is the legal mechanism that keeps your creditors from garnishing your wages, foreclosing your home, and repossessing your vehicle. This means losing out on months of protection in a Chapter 7, and years in a Chapter 13. You will receive no Automatic Stay at all if you file more than twice in a 12 month period. This concept is also known as an “exploding stay,” and is one of the pitfalls of filing bankruptcy multiple times.
If you filed bankruptcy on your own the first time and it was dismissed, you know it’s time to get a bankruptcy attorney. First of all, this will help you avoid making the same (and different mistakes) that you made your first time around. Secondly, your attorney can help you request an extension if your Automatic Stay is reduced or eliminated due to multiple filings.
Do I Need To File With The Same Representation As My Previous Case?
There is comfort in familiarity, so you may be wondering if you should, or have to, file with the same lawyer as last time. Whether your case was discharged or dismissed, you have the right to the legal representation of your choosing. You can retain a bankruptcy lawyer if you represent yourself in your first bankruptcy, or hire a new lawyer separate from your first one. The same goes for if your case is dismissed- although, you may save some money filing as a reinstatement rather than a brand new case and sticking with your first attorney.
How Am I Going To Afford Filing For Bankruptcy Again?
Coming up with the money to file a first time may have already been an ordeal. But discharging debts while protected by the Automatic Stay will be beneficial enough to your life to make it more than worth it. You may be wondering how this will even be possible, especially if you already spent fees on a dismissed case, or your wages are being garnished.
To make bankruptcy more accessible to those struggling with debt, our attorneys offer budget-friendly payment plan options. While other attorneys may claim to offer payment plans but require payment in full before your case can be filed, your case can be filed with our bankruptcy law firm for as little zero dollars down. This allows you to pay for your bankruptcy in reasonable, no interest payments scheduled for your convenience. Some of our payment plans even include credit reporting, which will help you improve your credit score after your bankruptcy has been discharged. To see if you qualify for one of our payment plan options, contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
Contact The Experienced Arizona Bankruptcy Attorneys At Chapter Bankruptcy Law Firm
If you have more questions about your rental lease in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, call for your free consultation today. Our experienced bankruptcy staff is standing by to guide you through the process, determine your eligibility, estimate your payments, and more!
Take the first step towards a financial clean slate by scheduling your free consultation today. Call (480) 405-1010 for a free consultation. We offer our consultations either in office or over the phone. The consultation and the advice is free. Our bankruptcy attorneys in Tempe and staff look forward to assisting you with all of your debt relief needs.