Ooops I did it again…..Need to file another bankruptcy? You’ve had your fresh start, but now, you need another one. Despite your planning, saving and other efforts there are things in life you just can’t control. Maybe you have experienced costly medical issues, are recently divorced which is creating financial havoc in your life, have been searching without success for employment while the bills pile up or lost your shirt in a failed business. In any event, you are looking at the real possibility of having to file another bankruptcy petition. But, can you? The answer to that question is determined by what chapter bankruptcy you previously filed and the outcome of that previous case.

  1. Discharge

If you received a discharge in your previous bankruptcy case, please see the following chart to determine what chapter you can file and when you can file it:

Discharge in Prior Bankruptcy What Bankruptcy Chapter is Available Timeline between Bankruptcies (Count from filing date of the prior)
Chapter 7 Chapter 7 8 years [§ 727(a)(8)]
Chapter 13 Chapter 7 6 years [§ 727(a)(9)]
Chapter 7 Chapter 13 4 years [§ 1328(f)(1)]
Chapter 13 Chapter 13 2 years [§ 1328(f)(2)]


  1. Dismissed

  If your Chapter 13 case was dismissed  –   You will have to wait 180 days after the dismissal to re-file if:   (1.) The case was dismissed on the Court’s Order (2.) The case was dismissed at your request after the filing a request for relief                                                                from the automatic stay.   If your Chapter 7 case was dismissed for failure to pass means test, there is no time limit on re-filing.   Yes! You can have another fresh start and we can help you. Joseph  W. Lehn is a Sarasota and Charlotte county attorney  who helps debtors seek bankruptcy relief and get back on their feet.