How Often Can You File For Bankruptcy In Arizona?
Arizona Bankruptcy Guide: How Often Is It Allowed?
There’s a myth that an individual can only file for bankruptcy once in their lifetime, but this isn’t true. There are no limits on how many times a person can file for bankruptcy. However, there are restrictions on the timing between multiple bankruptcy filings. In order to avoid the court believing you to be a bad faith filer and to help yourself obtain the full benefits of bankruptcy, it’s crucial to comply with these restrictions. If you’re unsure about the timing of filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Phoenix bankruptcy lawyer to discuss your situation.
How Long Do I Need To Wait To File Bankruptcy After Receiving a Discharge?
A common situation is when an individual files for bankruptcy, has their debts successfully discharged, and then accrues new debt that also needs to be discharged. Specific timing requirements apply to these situations.
If you filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and received a discharge:
- You will need to wait at least eight years from the date of the previous filing in order to discharge another Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or
- You will need to wait at least four years from the date of the previous filing in order to discharge a Chapter 13 bankruptcy
If you filed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and received a discharge:
- You will need to wait at least six years from the date of the previous filing in order to discharge a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or
- You will need to wait at least two years from the date of the previous filing in order to discharge another Chapter 13 bankruptcy
The timing of a second bankruptcy filing after a Chapter 13 bankruptcy discharge can become more complicated if you paid off all or most of your debts, so consult with a Tucson bankruptcy attorney to understand how the regulations apply to your situation.
If you have had multiple bankruptcies already discharged, you will need to carefully examine the necessary waiting periods. However, eight years is the longest waiting period that can apply. If it has been longer than eight years since your last bankruptcy discharge, you do not need to wait to apply again.
Filing Bankruptcy vs. Receiving a Discharge
An important consideration is that these waiting periods do not prevent you from filing for bankruptcy; they only determine whether your bankruptcy is eligible to be discharged.
For many people, the main reason for filing for bankruptcy is to obtain a discharge and be relieved of overwhelming debt. The bankruptcy filing may have no value if they are ineligible to have their debts eliminated.
However, there are some situations where filing for bankruptcy can be beneficial even if you do not receive a discharge. For example, if you are behind on your mortgage payments and a foreclosure is looming, filing for a Mesa Chapter 13 bankruptcy can give you the opportunity to catch up on your payments. Even if you don’t get a discharge, the bankruptcy was still useful because you were able to catch up on your mortgage payments. In these cases, talking with your attorney about your options can be extremely helpful and enable you to file for bankruptcy strategically.
If My Previous Bankruptcy Case Was Dismissed, When Can I File Again?
Another common situation is when an individual files for bankruptcy, is unable to complete the bankruptcy for some reason, and the case is dismissed without any debt discharge. If you still need your debts to be discharged, you may want to file for bankruptcy again. This is possible, and you’ll be able to work with more narrow timing restrictions:
You will only need to wait 180 days to file again if:
- Your case was dismissed because you willfully did not abide by court orders or did not appear in court as requested, or
- You requested and obtained a voluntary dismissal of your case after a creditor asked for relief from the automatic stay
The 180 day waiting period only applies if one of these conditions is met. If not, you can file a second bankruptcy petition immediately.
What Other Considerations Should I Know?
If you have filed a bankruptcy petition that might be dismissed and you want to be sure you can file again without the waiting period, it’s critical that you avoid mistakes that can make you subject to the 180 day waiting period. This includes ignoring court orders, failing to show up in court, or failing to do anything that is needed to move your case forward. Your Glendale bankruptcy lawyer will advise you throughout this process.
Sometimes your failure to comply is not considered “willful,” in which case you may not be subject to the waiting period. For example, if you are unable to make a payment to your Chapter 13 bankruptcy because your income changed for reasons outside of your control, that may not be considered willful. Other situations can become more complicated, but your Chandler bankruptcy attorney can provide guidance.
Are You Wondering Whether You Can File For Bankruptcy?
The attorneys at My AZ Lawyers have helped many people just like you navigate the complexities of Arizona bankruptcy filings. We can evaluate your eligibility for bankruptcy, help you understand your best options, and develop a unique strategy to help you maximize the benefits of bankruptcy. Schedule your free, confidential consultation by calling our office today!
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