Yes, you can file bankruptcy but you might not receive a discharge if you file too early or in bad faith.
Filing Too Early
The Bankruptcy Code sets time limits on when a second discharge is available to individuals not on whether they can file again. There is no time limit on filing; instead, the time limit is on whether you will receive a discharge or not in your subsequent case. The Bankruptcy Code makes those guidelines very clear but the key is to make sure you are calculating the time from filing date of your prior case with discharge to the filing date of your new case. The discharge time limits are:
- 8 years: From prior chapter 7 filing with discharge to new chapter 7 filing
- 6 years: From prior chapter 13 filing with discharge to new chapter 7 filing
- 4 years: From prior chapter 7 filing with discharge to new chapter 13 filing
- 2 years: From prior chapter 13 filing with discharge to new chapter 13 filing
Again, to be clear, there is no time limit on filing another case but only on whether you will receive a discharge. In some circumstances, filing another bankruptcy without receiving a discharge may be beneficial. But due to the costs in filing bankruptcy, filing knowing you will not receive a discharge should really be discourage except under certain conditions.
The number of times you have filed bankruptcy can be a factor used to determine whether your current bankruptcy filing is filed in “bad faith” if one of your creditors or the bankruptcy trustee objects. There are many factors used to determine whether bad faith exists if there is an objection stating you have filed in bad faith. The court will look at the totality of the circumstances to examine whether your case was filed in bad faith. If you just have on prior case and received a discharge in that case, then the likelihood of you filing your next case in bad faith is very slim. If a court deems that your case was filed in bad faith, your case could be dismissed.