Making the decision to file bankruptcy isn't often an easy decision to make, but it's even harder to decide whether you should file bankruptcy a second time. Many people feel like filing bankruptcy for a second time makes them a huge failure—but that's not the case. Anyone can experience financial problems, and unforeseen circumstances often put people in a financial position that wasn't intended. So, when determining whether or not you should file bankruptcy for a second time, you need to look at the situation logically, not emotionally.
Are You Planning for Major Life Changes?
If you're expecting to make a major life change in the near future, you need to consider how filing bankruptcy again will affect your plans. For example, if you're getting married it may be better for you to file bankruptcy before you tie the knot so that your spouse's income isn't taken into consideration.
However, if you're planning to have a baby, you should wait until after the baby is born so that any unexpected medical bills can be included in your bankruptcy.
How Much Debt Do You Have?
The first step in determining whether you need to file bankruptcy is determining how much debt you've actually accumulated. Then, you need to determine how long it would take you to repay your debt while still maintaining your regular monthly bills.
Obtain credit reports from all three of the major credit bureaus. Then, use your credit reports, and any bills you have on hand, to make a list of your debt. Include the company's name and contact information, as well as the amount of money that you owe when you make your list so that you don't need to make a second list for your bankruptcy lawyer if you decide to file.
When your list is complete, determine how long it would take you to repay your debt. If you think you can pay off all of your debt within a few years, and you don't need to make any drastic life changes during that time, you might be better off slowly paying off your debt on your own and adapting new spending habits.
When Did You File Bankruptcy?
While you can file bankruptcy multiple times, there's a time limit that determines whether your second bankruptcy gets fully discharged. If your bankruptcy isn't fully discharged, you're still responsible for the debt.
- If your previous bankruptcy wasn't discharged, you can file again at any time.
- If you received a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge, you need to wait four years to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy and eight years to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
- If you received a Chapter 13 bankruptcy discharge, you need to wait two years to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy and six years to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, if you repaid 100 percent of your payments during your previous Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the court can make an exception so that you don't have to wait six years in order to receive a full Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge.
Ultimately, the decision to file bankruptcy again is yours to make. As long as you've waited the proper amount of time to file, your second bankruptcy works just like your first. All you need to do is determine whether filing will help or hinder your future plans.