Filing for bankruptcy is often thought of as a one-time thing, and most filers believe they'll never have to file again after their first bankruptcy is finalized. For some people in Louisiana, though, more than one filing might be necessary during the course of their lives. Technically, there is no restriction on the number of times an individual can file for bankruptcy protection, but there are restrictions placed on when subsequent bankruptcies can be filed. The applicable time period varies based on the types of bankruptcy involved.
If a person has already gone through Chapter 7 bankruptcy, for example, and had it successfully discharged, he or she will have to wait at least eight years from the date the first case was filed before filing Chapter 7 again. If a person has already gone through Chapter 7 and wants to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection, he or she must wait at least four years from the date the Chapter 7 case was filed.
If a person has already gone through Chapter 13 bankruptcy and wants to file another Chapter 13, he or she can typically do so immediately after the first case is discharged. There is no waiting period for this combination. If a person has already gone through Chapter 13 and wants to file for Chapter 7 protection, he or she must wait six years after the discharge of the Chapter 13 case. There may be exceptions to the six-year requirement in cases where the petitioner paid off at least 70 percent of his or her unsecured debts.
In a case where a person is struggling to pay down debts, a lawyer may be able to help. A lawyer with experience in bankruptcy law might suggest options to reduce or eliminate debt, or they may try to negotiate a settlement with creditors. People who file Chapter 7 bankruptcy might be able to eliminate their debts without losing their important assets.