Can You File for Bankruptcy Twice?

Can You File for Bankruptcy Twice?

To go for bankruptcy as a solution for your financial troubles, you’d have to think of how long the process takes. This matters because you’d have to plan for the time when you need to bounce back from it.

If you don’t have a plan or be able to get your financial situation in order, you might need to file for bankruptcy yet again. And there’s a limit on that. Getting the bankruptcy court order for the first time might mean having to count the days before filing a new one.

What the Rules Say

Technically speaking, the law doesn’t prohibit the number of times you file a bankruptcy case; so multiple filings can be done. What is barred is the time limit for waiting to file a new case. This time limit is specifically applied to the discharge orders on the debt itself. Meaning, filing before a discharge order has been given is disallowed.

Within certain parameters, a person may file multiple bankruptcies. For as long as you don’t color outside the lines of the law, then you’re good to go. Here are the limits set in filing a petition in court under Chapters 7 and 13, Title 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code:

  1. Successive filings under Chapter 7 are disallowed if a discharge order is released in any Chapter 7 case within the 8 years provided by the law. You’d have to wait for the first discharge order to pass, then hang on for 8 years and then file a second petition under the same chapter.
  2. Successive filings under Chapter 13 Bankruptcy are prohibited when the first discharge order hasn’t been released with the time frame of two years.  What matters most is to wait out the discharge orders before filing a new one under the same chapter.

The rules are set for a reason. Getting bankrupt is tricky business. You’d have to make it worth your while because time and money is wasted on every petition that gets junked by the courts of law. Besides, getting bankrupt once is enough for the wise man.

The Trustee: What do They do in Bankruptcy Cases?

The Trustee: What do They do in Bankruptcy Cases?

The unpopular role of the Trustee in a bankruptcy case is a difficult one. There are many reasons why they’ve been so often disliked. Chief among them is the designated part of liquidating the debtor’s assets and properties.

You’ve heard of a trustee in a trust, right? The role is the same except the task is much more defined under the law. What they do is oversee the liquidation of assets used to be paid for the debts an individual owes in a bankruptcy case.

What is a Trustee?

In a bankruptcy case, a trustee is a third party or a neutral person appointed by the courts to manage the property and assets of an individual filing for relief. They deal with the creditors because they guard the assets for the purpose of selling them and then decide where to distribute the money.

The trustee is usually a member of the Department of Justice, assigned by the Office of the US Trustee.

The Breakdown of Duties of a Trustee

All bankruptcy cases are filed under the cited provisions from Chapter 7, 11, 12 and 13, Title 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code. Once appointed, the trustee begins to assume any of the following duties and responsibilities:

  1. Guardian against fraud – If a case is filed under Chapter 7, the trustee reviews the petition to see if any of the assets and property submitted by the debtor is accurate and free of fraud.
  2. Collection of Non-exempt assets – Not all of the assets can be liquidated by the trustee. Part of the trustee’s duties is to determine which ones are non-exempt.
  3. Meeting of Creditors and Distribution– Assets and properties are to be sold and distributed to the creditors to satisfy a debt. All meetings with creditors are done under oath; if you’ve retained a bankruptcy lawyer to prepare your petition, representation at the creditors meeting is included.
  4. Takes over Managing a Business – In a case filed under Chapter 11, a trustee assumes the responsibilities of a company CEO. He shall manage the assets of the business for the same purpose of paying off debt and all obligations.
  5. Finding the assets – A Trustee is paid a small fee from the proceeds of the sale of all the property and assets. However, there are cases where the court allows him to find “hidden assets” under the incentive of getting a commission for every asset obtained.

The rest of the duties are defined under the Chapters of the Bankruptcy Code that governs the conduct of the bankruptcy case. As lawyers or accountants, all trustees are generally professionals who conduct their affairs honestly and with integrity.

Importance of Having a Bankruptcy Attorney

Importance of Having a Bankruptcy Attorney

No one ever plans to go bankrupt, because there’s a stigma to bankruptcy that’s hard to shake off. The besmirched reputation that inevitably follows haunts you wherever you go. But sometimes, bankruptcy is necessary.

Not everything about bankruptcy is bad. It certainly has its advantages too. What you need to remember is the law can release you from debt and going further down the mud, as they say. So when you have to file for bankruptcy, it’s best to get the a good ally by your side – your bankruptcy attorney.

The “MacGyver” of Attorneys

When considering filing for bankruptcy, the necessary steps are explained to you by a specialist lawyer. Hiring a Bankruptcy attorney is very important because you can’t possibly know how to get out of certain complications during process.

Bankruptcy is (or can be) a very complex process involving creditors, and debt collectors. The process is long and takes time. If you file without an attorney, you might not be fully protected. The court intervenes where you can no longer satisfy your obligations which still make you vulnerable to attack from creditors.

Aside from your rights and other privileges, your lawyer will defend your against such attacks and may even help you wiggle out of slippery legal procedures.  The concern is to maneuver in unnecessary situations brought on by the process especially if your file under Chapter 7 and 13, of Title 11, the US Bankruptcy Code. You’ll need an attorney’s expertise and skills to argue and impose your rights too.

Aside from being a professional, your attorney and his credentials must be stellar. He must be experienced in all aspects involved from the filing up to the litigation process.

Why Empathy is Important

Knowledge is a pre-requisite to a good bankruptcy attorney but empathy isn’t always a given. That’s also saying not all lawyers have good “bedside” manners to tolerate and deal with all your personal issues. Without that extra something lawyers don’t learn in law school, your case won’t be given a sympathetic thought.

It’s a difficult process for you so it’s crucial to have an expert who listens and understands. Empathy makes him champion your cause and not just defend it. This makes your attorney see beyond the stress and all the heightened emotions involved. This dedication stems from his love of service and helping people get through a painful process.

Having a good bankruptcy lawyer is like having a pit bull by your side. In the event, that you need some protection, he’ll be willing to pounce and fight with all his might just to safeguard your rights during the tough and demanding bankruptcy procedure. So make sure that your lawyer has a good reputation with past clients and a track record of being trust-worthy.

That lawyer must have the passion and respect for the process too, but never assume he’ll devote everything to you – because you might not be the only client worth fighting for. Trust goes both ways in bankruptcy cases. If you trust your lawyer, he will afford you the same courtesy. It doesn’t hurt to make sure of your lawyer’s credentials, check places like Avvo for reviews.