If you have filed a personal bankruptcy in the past and you are considering filing another case, it is critical that you obtain the advice and guidance of a seasoned bankruptcy attorney. Serial filers can face severe consequences; including the impact prior bankruptcies have on the automatic stay.
If you have filed only one prior bankruptcy case within the same year, the automatic stay will be effective for only 30 days after you file your petition. During this time, if you are able to prove to the court that your second filing is being made in good-faith, the stay can be extended by the court. This requires us to file a motion seeking this relief and providing evidence to the court before the 30 days expires. Good-faith is typically proven by demonstrating to the court that your second filing is justified by certain circumstances. For example, if you filed your first case pro se (without an attorney) and you retained legal counsel for your second filing.
If you have had two or more bankruptcies dismissed within a twelve month period, the stay is not “automatic” in your subseqent filing in that same year. This means that even though you have filed a bankruptcy case, the automatic stay is not effective for your filing. Thus, creditors can continue to take collection action against you, at least until we are able to meet certain requirements. We can file a motion and request that the court invoke the automatic stay. We once again have the burden of proof to show that your third case is being filed in good-faith. The burden is higher and the proof must be convincing, but it can be done.
If you have filed a prior bankruptcy that was dismissed within the past year and you still need relief from you debt, call us to schedule a free consultation.