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Filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy After Voluntary Dismissal
by Adam Mack, J.D.
If your Chapter 13 case was voluntarily dismissed, how soon can you file again and how is the case different?
Just like any other legal proceeding, bankruptcies can be dismissed by the people who file them, otherwise known as voluntary dismissal. This dismissal can be for any number of reasons, but sometimes people need to file again. If they're filing less than a year after their previous Chapter 13 bankruptcy, though, there are a couple of things they need to know.
Arguably the biggest difference between the initial Chapter 13 and the subsequent bankruptcy is the way the automatic stay is handled. Normally, when a bankruptcy is filed, an automatic stay occurs, preventing creditors from further attempts to collect a debt.
If a subsequent bankruptcy is filed less than one year since the first bankruptcy is pending, though, the stay is only in effect for 30 calendar days. This 30-day period can be extended, but only upon motion by one of the parties (usually the debtor) and only after notice and a hearing.
Another significant difference in the case of a quick refiling is that it can sometimes be presumed to be in bad faith and the burden is on the debtor to show that the bankruptcy is actually filed in good faith. It's critical that you speak with an attorney if you have more than two bankruptcies filed in the last year. Filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy after voluntary dismissal involves even more pitfalls than before.