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Can you file for bankruptcy if you did last year?

Perhaps you filed for bankruptcy last year, pulling yourself out of debt and getting a clean slate. Despite your best efforts, you're already looking at mounting debt again, and you're wondering if you can use bankruptcy yet again to get out from under it.

You're confident that what you've learned in the last few years will make it possible for you to move in a positive financial direction going forward, if only you didn't have that debt hanging over your head.

Unfortunately, you cannot file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy if you did so within the past few years. You are only allowed to use this option and discharge your debt every eight years. You have no choice but to wait until you're eligible again if you want to file for Chapter 7.

It is worth noting that you may be able to use Chapter 13 bankruptcy before you're allowed to use Chapter 7 again. Rather than wiping out your debt through the liquidation of assets, Chapter 13 instead creates an affordable repayment plan. You do have to make the payments, so you're not entirely out of financial trouble, but this can be a way to alleviate some of the pressure, especially if you're worried about things like losing your home to foreclosure.

Even Chapter 13 won't be available right away, though. You must wait for two years after using Chapter 13 the first time and four years after using Chapter 7.

As you can see, it's very important to know about all of your options. While there's no way to get a discharge every year, you may still be able to fix your financial situation soon.

Source: Bankrate, "Too soon to file for bankruptcy again?," Justin Harelik, accessed Dec. 15, 2016

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