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Frequent Bankruptcy Question: Can I File Bankruptcy More Than Once?

Posted on Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 at 9:34 pm    

bankruptcyOur Northern Kentucky office regularly helps local families file bankruptcy a second or even third time. More than one bankruptcy filing is not only possible, it can be expected in certain circumstances. For example, if a client has significant tax debts and credit card debts and knows high payments in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy are likely, it might make sense to file a Chapter 7 to get rid of the credit card debts first, and then file a Chapter 13 to pay off the tax debts.

The issue many clients do not understand is that a certain period of time has to happen between bankruptcies before the second bankruptcy can result in a discharge, or before the second bankruptcy is even possible. Lawrence & Associates’ attorneys see many people who need to file a second bankruptcy, only to get frustrated when they are told they cannot get a discharge or that they will have to file a different bankruptcy than the kind they wanted. For that reason, we are offering the following general guidelines for potential clients so they have a rough guess as to the options available to them in a second bankruptcy filing.

Filing a Chapter 7 as a Second Bankruptcy

You cannot file a Chapter 7 if you filed a previous Chapter 7 within the past eight years in which you received a discharge. Similarly, you cannot file a Chapter 7 if you filed a previous Chapter 13 within the past six years in which you received a discharge. There is an exception to the six year rule if your prior bankruptcy either paid all the unsecured claims in full or plan payments in the earlier case were at least seventy percent of the unsecureds and the good faith plan in the prior case was the debtor’s best effort. You also cannot file a Chapter 7 if you have had a previous bankruptcy dismissed either voluntarily by you, or because a Kentucky or Ohio court ruled that you were in bad faith or violation of a court order.

Some rules for you to take away: If it has been more than eight years since you filed your bankruptcy, you are ok no matter what you file now. If it has been less than eight years, you need to determine both whether a bankruptcy is possible and whether a discharge is possible. The six year test has exceptions that rely upon the judgment of the court in each individual case, and it is in your best interests to get an experienced bankruptcy attorney, like those at Lawrence & Associates, who will be familiar with the way local courts lean on this subject.

Filing a Chapter 13 as a Second Bankruptcy

As a general rule, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be filed at any time after a prior bankruptcy. The issue is not whether the Chapter 13 can be filed, but rather whether the debtor can receive a discharge in the Chapter 13. Discharge in a Chapter 13 will be denied if a prior Chapter 7, 11, or 12 was filed within four years of this Chapter 13’s filing, or if a prior Chapter 13 was filed within two years of this Chapter 13’s filing. Additionally, if the Chapter 13 is being filed within one year of a prior bankruptcy’s dismissal, a motion to extend the automatic stay must be filed so creditors do not have the right to pursue foreclosure, repossession, or garnishment during the bankruptcy.

A Chapter 13 can still have value even if a discharge is not available, so it is a good idea to talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney to determine if a Chapter 13 will help no matter how long it has been since your last bankruptcy. Further, the automatic stay is critical for Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati residents to preserve their assets in bankruptcy, so be sure to consult with a lawyer before filing.

Every Case Is Different, So Don’t Go It Alone!

These are general rules, and every case is different. There may be something about your case that is unique and requires a variation from the norm. Don’t file bankruptcy without legal help. Lawrence & Associates takes pride in representing Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati residents just like you. We are Working Hard for the Working Class, and we can help. Call today!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation

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Northern Kentucky Residents Have a Right to Haggle Over Their Debt

Posted on Friday, April 4th, 2014 at 3:09 pm    

lender callsThere is a pervasive myth in American society that attempting to negotiate down the amount of one’s debt is a bad thing. This myth is designed to keep you poor, and beholden to the interests of the banks, credit card companies, and other lenders that you’ve met during your quest to live a happy, normal life. The truth is that you have every right to negotiate down your debts, and that the lender or collection agency will usually work with you if you stand your ground and dangle a carrot in front of them. Don’t forget that the fees, fines, interest rates, and negative remarks on your credit report are not unchangeable, universal laws physics that cannot be altered. They aren’t laws at all, actually; rather, they are only policies, arbitrarily set by the lender (and often arbitrarily changed by them, too). Policies that are set arbitrarily and changed arbitrarily can be negotiated. Also, don’t forget that the lender you are using is a business, and it is in competition with every other lending business out there. If the lender is faced with a choice of waiving a few late fees or watching you walk to their competitor and pay them exorbitant interest rates for a while, then it’s no choice at all. The lender would much rather work with you than watch you walk to a competing Northern Kentucky business.

Bankruptcy is a Creditor’s Trump Card and a Fresh Start

In a bankruptcy, you have the ability to force the lender to take nothing (or much less than 100%) in return for their loan. Obviously, this is the worst possible outcome for the lender, and you have a Constitutional right to spring it on them at any time. The lenders know this, and this is a principal reason that they continue to perpetrate the myth that rearranging your debt is a sin; absent any legal way to prevent you from using your trump card, they try to convince you that the trump card is evil. Calling bankruptcy a trump card, by the way, is poetry because Donald Trump has filed for bankruptcy on multiple occasions. The belief in this myth is a major way that the thinking of wealthy people and business owners differs from the thinking of the poor and middle classes. Wealthy people and business owners don’t feel bad about filing bankruptcy or re-negotiating debt; it’s just another business decision. That decision should have no different connotations for you.

You Have Rights When Dealing With Lenders

When dealing with a Northern Kentucky lender, remember to be firm and remember that you have rights. The person you are talking to almost certainly has some ability to help you. If not, his or her supervisor does. However, you’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar. That means you must be polite and calm. Calling them in a temper tantrum won’t solve anything. They don’t have to help you, any more than you have to work that extra shift to pay their bill. If you have a lender that is abusive – including calling you at odd hours, calling friends and family about your debt, calling you at work, or telling you they’ll have you arrested – ask for the person’s name, employee number, direct line, or any other identifying information you can think of. Tell them you are gathering this information in order to file a Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) violation complaint. If that doesn’t change their tone, get a lawyer to deal with them for you. And if the lender really won’t budge, or if you have so many lenders that you can’t pay the bills even if they do try to help you out, then get ready to file a bankruptcy. Bankruptcy wipes the slate clean and gives you a fresh start.

Lawrence & Associates are Northern Kentucky lawyers who fight for the rights of debtors just like you, every day. Lawrence & Associates can help!

Contact Us (859.371.5997) for a Free Consultation

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