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How many times can a debtor claim bankruptcy?

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Ohio residents desirous of filing for bankruptcy may be wondering how often this can be done. While the laws usually allow a person to file for bankruptcy as often as he or she wishes, there are certain conditions that the filer must meet in order to be eligible to file again under either Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13.

Pertaining to those who have filed for and received a discharge in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case and who wish to file for another Chapter 7 case, the law states that they are not eligible to file until eight years have elapsed. If a person who received a discharge in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case wishes to file under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, he or she may only do so after six years from the initial Chapter 13 bankruptcy discharge.

Those who have received a Chapter 13 bankruptcy discharge of their debts and who wish to file for a new Chapter 13 bankruptcy case may do so after two years have elapsed from the initial discharge. Those who have been granted a discharge in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case and who wish to file for a discharge in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case may do so but must wait four years between the filings in order to be granted the discharge.

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, a person's non-exempt assets are liquidated with the proceeds used to pay off creditors, while in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor must pay back a portion of his or her debts via a payment plan. Many people who can afford the payment plan choose a Chapter 13 bankruptcy so that they won't lose their assets. A bankruptcy attorney may be able to help a client who is experiencing mounting financial difficulties to choose the appropriate option.

Source: Ohio State Bar Association, "Bankruptcy", November 02, 2014

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