Debtors in Virginia and throughout the country who are struggling to keep up with their bills may be able to take advantage of Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, there are limits to how many times an individual can file. In most cases, an individual will need to wait eight years after a Chapter 7 case is discharged before they can file another liquidation bankruptcy case. Those who file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy must wait six years before filing for a liquidation bankruptcy.
There may be an exception for individuals who have paid off at least 70% of their unsecured debts after filing for Chapter 13 protection. If a Chapter 7 case is discharged, an individual must wait four years from the date that the case was filed to purse a Chapter 13 proceeding. If a bankruptcy case is dismissed, a debtor may need to wait 180 days before trying to file for bankruptcy again.
Cases could be dismissed if a debtor violates a court order or engages in fraud. A case could also be dismissed voluntarily after a creditor seeks to have an automatic stay lifted. It is worth noting that a court has the power to extend a bankruptcy ban beyond 180 days. In some cases, a ban can remain in effect indefinitely.
Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be ideal for those who have mostly unsecured debts and few assets. This is because debt balances that remain after assets are liquidated are likely to be discharged. Other benefits of filing for bankruptcy include an automatic stay of creditor contact and the ability to complete a case in a matter of weeks or months. An attorney may be able to help a person file for bankruptcy or learn more about the benefits of doing so.