How many times you can file bankruptcy in South Carolina depends on:
- When you last filed
- How long it takes to complete the previous bankruptcy filing
- What bankruptcy chapter you filed under before
- Which chapter you are filing under now
- Whether you discharged your debts in your previous filing
As you can see, many factors play into determining how many times you can file bankruptcy in South Carolina. A bankruptcy lawyer from our firm can assist you in this process.
In This Article
What Are Bankruptcy Refiling Waiting Periods?
If you previously filed for bankruptcy, you must wait several years before filing again. The length of this waiting period depends on which chapter you previously filed:
- The waiting period between Chapter 7 filings is usually eight years.
- The waiting period between Chapter 13 filings is usually two years.
- There is no wait time between Chapter 11 and 12 filings.
Regardless of wait times (or the lack thereof), you typically cannot file a second time until your previous bankruptcy case has finished. Chapter 13 bankruptcy, for example, often takes between three and five years to complete, which is significantly longer than the two-year legal waiting period.
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Are There Other Differences Between Bankruptcy Chapters?
In addition to the differing waiting periods, each bankruptcy chapter applies to different people or organizations in different situations. If your situation has changed substantially since your last filing, you may have to file under a different chapter than before.
These are four of the most commonly filed bankruptcy chapters.
Individuals and businesses may file Chapter 7 if they cannot pay their debts. While petitioners must pay back what they can through the sale of nonexempt assets, many petitioners do not have any such assets. They can therefore discharge their debts without selling anything.
Per the U.S. Courts, Chapter 7 is one of the more straightforward bankruptcy chapters. You will probably get to keep all your assets and avoid appearing before a judge.
While anyone can file Chapter 11, the higher filing fees mean larger businesses and corporations are the most frequent petitioners.
Under Chapter 11, you must draft a repayment plan and submit it to your creditors for approval. This plan should state how much of your original debt you plan to repay and how many years it will take you to do so.
Chapter 12 is a simplified form of bankruptcy generally limited to family farmers or fishermen who have run into financial trouble. Like Chapter 11, Chapter 12 requires the submission of a repayment plan.
This chapter is often the chapter of choice for individuals that still make money and only need more time to reorganize and repay what they owe. They can do so through an approved repayment plan.
The primary benefit of filing bankruptcy is having your debts discharged or eliminated. If your initial filing failed to get your debts discharged, you may be able to file again.
Per 11 U.S.C. § 523, dischargeable debts do not include:
- Most student loans
- Child support
- Certain tax debts
If your financial troubles stem from any of the above, bankruptcy may not be the right option for you. Instead, you can speak with a lawyer about your situation and see if any bankruptcy alternatives could help.
Alternatives to Bankruptcy
Refiling for bankruptcy is not for everyone, nor is it your only option. Before you refile, you might want to take some time to consider the following alternatives.
- Doing nothing: It is normal to feel like you must act right away to avoid disaster in difficult financial times. However, it is sometimes better to wait a while before taking drastic action.
- Debt counseling: A lawyer can introduce you to credible, nonprofit organizations that help people better understand and manage their debt.
- Debt renegotiation: If you file for bankruptcy, your creditors cannot collect what you owe. Therefore, they may be willing to renegotiate the terms of your loan to increase the chances of getting their money back.
Bankruptcy is a serious step that helps many debtors restart their lives. However, it can also hurt your credit score and other aspects of your financial record, especially if you file more than once. A lawyer can ensure you understand all the bankruptcy alternatives available to you and the consequences of refiling. This information will enable you to make the best possible decision for yourself, your business, and your family.
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Filing for bankruptcy can be complicated, especially if you have already done so in the past. Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC, wants to help you regain financial stability, no matter how many times you have filed – or tried to file – for bankruptcy before. Call (828) 286-3866 for a free consultation. One of our South Carolina bankruptcy lawyers can guide you through the entire process.