Can You File Bankruptcy More than Once? Just Ask Donald Trump

ImmigrationPresident Has Declared Bankruptcy 6 Times

The federal bankruptcy laws were established to give individuals and business owners the opportunity for a fresh start. Ideally, with that fresh start, and with the lessons learned that forced you into bankruptcy, you’ll not repeat earlier mistakes. But things happen…you may suffer a serious injury or get a divorce. Your business may encounter unanticipated challenges. Can you file for bankruptcy more than once and, if so, how long must you wait to file again? How is it that President Trump was able to file for bankruptcy protection six times between 1991 and 2009?

It’s important to understand, first, that the bankruptcy law does not include any limitations on how soon you may file for bankruptcy protection after an earlier petition—the limitation is only on how soon you may discharge debts in bankruptcy. If you file too quickly after a prior discharge, the filing could be a waste of time and money, as you won’t be able to permanently rid yourself of debts.

Filing under the Same Chapter

The guidelines for when you can obtain a discharge differ based on whether you are filing successive Chapter 7 petitions or successive Chapter 13 petitions. If both bankruptcy filings were liquidation proceedings under Chapter 7, you must wait eight (8) years after your first filing if you want to discharge debts in the second proceeding. However, if you sought reorganization of your debts under Chapter 13, you need only wait two years from the date of the first Chapter 13 filing.

Filing under Different Chapters

If you file under a different Chapter the second time, the time limit will depend on which Chapter you filed under first. If the first filing was for reorganization under Chapter 13, you must wait six years to file a Chapter 7 petition. If, however, you filed a Chapter 7 liquidation proceeding first, you need only wait four years to file a Chapter 13.

Business Bankruptcy Filings

The rules set forth above only apply to personal bankruptcy filings. There are no similar restrictions set forth in the bankruptcy code for Chapter 11 reorganization petitions filed by businesses. This explains why the President, while operating in private industry, was able to file for Chapter 11 protection more than once.

Contact Us

At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we provide a free initial consultation to every client. To set up an appointment with an experienced Texas bankruptcy attorney, contact us online or call us at 844-402-2992. For your convenience, we answer our phones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We will meet with you.