How often can you file bankruptcy chapter 7?

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Filing for bankruptcy can be a complex and overwhelming process, and understanding the rules and regulations surrounding it is crucial. One common question that arises is how often an individual can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In this article, we will dive deeper into this topic to provide a comprehensive understanding of the frequency at which one can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Frequency of Filing

Chapter 7 bankruptcy provides individuals with a fresh start by liquidating their non-exempt assets to pay off their debts. It is often referred to as a “liquidation bankruptcy” as it involves the sale of assets to repay creditors. However, not everyone is eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and there are certain limitations on how often one can file.

According to the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) enacted in 2005, an individual cannot receive a discharge in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy if they have received a discharge in a previous Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy case within the past eight years. This means that there is an eight-year waiting period between Chapter 7 discharges.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. If an individual has previously filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and wants to file again, they may be eligible for a discharge if they can prove that they have experienced a substantial change in circumstances since their previous bankruptcy filing. This typically involves demonstrating a significant decrease in income or an increase in expenses that makes it impossible to repay their debts.

Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

It is important to note that the eight-year waiting period mentioned above only applies to Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings. If an individual has previously filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy but wishes to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead, the waiting period is reduced to four years. Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves creating a repayment plan to pay off debts over a period of three to five years.

Consequences of Filing Too Soon

Attempting to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy before the required waiting period has passed can have serious consequences. If a bankruptcy court discovers that an individual has filed too soon, their case may be dismissed, and they may be barred from receiving a discharge of their debts. It is essential to adhere to the waiting period to ensure the success of a bankruptcy filing.


In conclusion, the frequency at which one can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is subject to certain limitations. The BAPCPA mandates an eight-year waiting period between Chapter 7 discharges, with exceptions for individuals who can demonstrate a substantial change in circumstances. It is crucial to understand these rules and consult with a bankruptcy attorney to navigate the bankruptcy process effectively.


– United States Courts: Bankruptcy Basics –
– Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute: 11 U.S. Code ยง 727 – Discharge –
– Investopedia: Chapter 7 Bankruptcy –