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How the Automatic Stay is Impacted by Multiple Filings

If you have previously filed for bankruptcy protection and you are considering filing another case, it is important to understand that there are certain guideline for when and how you can do it.

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The court looks at what type of case you filed the first time and whether you received a discharge of your debts to determine whether you qualify to file a second bankruptcy case,. In the majority of the cases, you can file a new bankruptcy case at any time if your prior filing was dismissed and you did not receive a discharge order from the court.

If your first case was a Chapter 7 and you obtained a discharge order from the court, you can:

  • file another Chapter 7 case and receive a discharge after 8 years from the petition date of your first case.
  • file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and receive a discharge order after 4 years from the petition date of your first case.

If your first case was under Chapter 13 and you received a discharge from the court, you can:

  • file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and receive a discharge order after 6 years from the petition date of your first case.
  • file another Chapter 13 bankruptcy after 2 years have passed from the time you filed the petition in your first case.

You should also be aware that if you have filed two or more bankruptcy cases that were dismissed within one year, the automatic stay will not be effective upon the filing of a subsequent case in the same year. This means that although you have filed bankruptcy, collection actions against you can continue until you have met certain requirements.

It is important to note, however, that there are consequences for filing more than one personal bankruptcy. A little-known penalty is that if you have had two or more bankruptcy filings dismissed within one year, the automatic stay does not go into effect in a subsequent case filed in that same year. In other words, none of your creditors are barred from continuing their collection efforts against you….at least until you meet certain conditions. To learn more, please read our blog titled “Serial Bankruptcy Filers – What You Should Know.”

If you have previously filed for bankruptcy relief and you are considering filing against, let us help. The legal team at Faro & Crowder is ready to help. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve businesses across the State of Florida.

Required Filings in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

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Once you have decided to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, there are several different pleadings that must be prepared and filed with the court. The law requires all bankruptcy debtors to make full financial disclosures. In other words, you are required to list all of your property, debts, income and expenses. One of your bankruptcy attorneys will assist you with creating all of the necessary paperwork, but it is important that you provide us with all of your financial records. Below is a summary of the initial pleadings that we will file in your Chapter 7 case:

  • the bankruptcy petition
  • a list of everything you own
  • a list of all you owe (debts)
  • a list of everyone you owe money to (called the “creditor matrix”)
  • a list of your current income and expenses
  • a statement of your financial affairs
  • a certificate from your lawyer demonstrating that (i) you were given a notice explaining the different bankruptcy chapters, (ii) a notice describing the services provided by the credit counseling agencies, and (ii) a statement clarifying that any debtor who intentionally or fraudulently conceals property or makes a false statement under oath is subject to fine, imprisonment, or both.

The above initial filings are commonly referred to together as your “Schedules and Statement of Financial Affairs.” Once all of your pleadings have been prepared, you will be asked to review them closely and confirm that they are accurate. The trustee will likely ask if you have reviewed all of your pleadings and whether they are true and correct at your meeting of creditors. If you should discover an error, it is imperative that you let your lawyer know immediately so it can be corrected. You file your bankruptcy pleadings with the court under the penalty of perjury, so you want to make sure it is done correctly.

If you are interested in learning more about how a bankruptcy filing will impact your debt, contact Faro Crowder, PA to schedule an appointment.

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