How often can I file for bankruptcy in Pennsylvania?

Technically you can file for bankruptcy as many times as you wish. However, there is a difference between filing for bankruptcy and having a bankruptcy discharged or even dismissed. Filing is only the first step.

A discharged bankruptcy means that the debtor is no longer responsible for their debts such as personal loans or credit card bills. However, a bankruptcy can be dismissed, making the debtor liable for all of their debts.

When you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy protected by a court order, referred to as an automatic stay, it temporarily blocks collection actions while the bankruptcy is in effect. Filing multiple times can virtually neuter the power of the stay, depending on the timing of filings. One exception exists where a court grants an extension, making the stay only last for 30 days if the debtor files for bankruptcy more than once in a year.

Filing more than once for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy means your second case cannot be discharged for at least eight years after the date of the filing of the original Chapter 7. Filing more than once for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy means your second Chapter 13 cannot be discharged for at least two years after the date of the first filing.

If you have converted from a Chapter 7 to a Chapter 13 and the Chapter 7 was discharged, you cannot get a discharge on the Chapter 13 for at least four years from the date the Chapter 7 was filed. If you are converting from a Chapter 7 to a Chapter 13, and the Chapter 13 was discharged, you cannot get a discharge under a Chapter 7 for at least six years since the date the Chapter 13 was filed.

The attorneys at Melaragno, Placidi & Parini can explain the exceptions to you in greater depth and provide you with enough information to determine what would best suit your circumstances. Although you can file multiple times, the timing on filing needs to be well thought out.

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