Can I obtain bankruptcy protection again if I have filed a bankruptcy in the past and am now falling behind in payments again?

You may not be able file a bankruptcy petition if a prior case was dismissed because of your failure to abide by a court order. In addition, you cannot file again if, within the last six months, you requested dismissal of the prior case after a creditor sought relief from the automatic stay. The law in effect after October 17, 2005 also imposes the following rules if you have filed prior bankruptcy cases:

Chapter 7

You can file another chapter 7 case, but there might not be a right to discharge. If the prior bankruptcy was in chapter 7 and you filed the case less than eight years ago (six years before October 17, 2005) and obtained a discharge, you cannot obtain a discharge in a case filed today.

Finally, having filed a recent previous bankruptcy may affect the automatic stay. This is true in some situations where the prior case had been dismissed or a creditor had obtained relief from the automatic stay.

Chapter 13

You can file another chapter 13 case, but there might not be a right to discharge. On or after October 17, 2005, if the prior bankruptcy was in chapter 7 and you filed less than four years ago and obtained a discharge, you cannot obtain a discharge in a chapter 13 filed today. If the prior bankruptcy was in chapter 13 and you filed the petition less than two years ago and obtained a discharge, you cannot obtain a discharge in a chapter 13 filed today.

Finally, having filed a recent previous bankruptcy may affect the automatic stay. This is true in some situations where the prior case had been dismissed or a creditor had obtained relief from the automatic stay.

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