A person may declare bankruptcy more than once. However, there are different time periods for a Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy and other serious considerations. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most-recognized and is a discharge of all eligible debts, such as credit cards and hospital bills. Tax debts, child support and student loans are among the debts that cannot be discharged and must be repaid. There is an eight-year wait for refiling a second Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 is debt restructuring to help make monthly repayments to creditors over three to five-years. Monthly payments are as low as $125 to $150, which is distributed among all creditors. There is a four-year wait for debtors who previously filed under Chapter 7 to file Chapter 13. A debtor who earlier filed under Chapter 13 and seeks to file under Chapter 7 must wait six years. There is a two-year period for repeat Chapter 13 filings.
A debtor may refile their case if the previous filing was dismissed and there was no discharge. There may be a short waiting period of 180 days. The re-filed bankruptcy may include new debts and nothing that was in the original filing.
There are disadvantages to declaring bankruptcy more than once. A bankruptcy remains on credit reports for 10 years, which makes it more difficult to obtain credit cards, a mortgage, a car loan or even a job. Other options include working with creditors to arrange payment plans. There are also other methods to reduce debt and easing repayment. Chapter 13 may also be recommended because it allows a debtor to catch up on debt without home foreclosure, car repossession or having wages being garnished for taxes.