bankruptcy in south carolina

For most people, filing for bankruptcy at all is something they don’t want to consider. If you find yourself in a financial tight spot and don’t see a way to repay your debts, filing for bankruptcy can give you the fresh start you need to get your finances back on track. Often, filing once is all that’s needed. But with economic conditions constantly changing, frequent tech industry layoffs, and other factors causing people to go deeper into debt, filing for bankruptcy more than once is becoming more common. So, how many times can you file? Your South Carolina bankruptcy attorney explains.

There Is No Limit or Cap

In South Carolina, there is no maximum limit or cap on the number of times you can file for bankruptcy. If you file three times and find yourself in over your head a fourth time, you may be able to file again. It all depends on your situation. That said, filing for bankruptcy multiple times may not be in your best interest. Remember, every time you file for bankruptcy, your credit score can take a hit and that bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for between seven and ten years, depending on the type of bankruptcy you file. 

There Are Waiting Periods You Must Satisfy

Though there’s no cap on how many times you can file, there are waiting periods you’ll need to satisfy before you can file for bankruptcy again. The waiting times vary from bankruptcy type to bankruptcy type. 

  • Chapter 7 to Chapter 7: If you filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and want to file for Chapter 7 again, you’ll typically need to wait another eight years.
  • Chapter 7 to Chapter 13: If you filed Chapter 7 originally and want to file for Chapter 13, you’ll typically have to wait for four years after your Chapter 7 bankruptcy concludes. 
  • Chapter 13 to Chapter 13: If you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’ll need to typically wait two years to file again.

These waiting periods are a requirement for most people. If you try to file before the end of your waiting period, your case will be dismissed. But there are exceptions to the rule and those exceptions depend on the outcome of your previous bankruptcy.

The Outcome of Previous Bankruptcies Matters

If your debts were discharged in your previous bankruptcy filing, you’ll need to fulfill the waiting periods. But if your debts weren’t discharged, you may be able to file sooner. For example, if your case was dismissed with prejudice—this happens when you don’t follow bankruptcy rules—you may have to wait just 180 days to file again. And if your case was dismissed because of fraud, you may be banned from filing for bankruptcy indefinitely. It’s up to the judge to decide what’s fair based on your case.

Bankruptcy Alternatives May Be a Better Fit

If you’ve filed for bankruptcy in the past and are still struggling with debt, filing for bankruptcy again may not help you solve the problem. And even if it would give you a fresh start, you may have to wait several years before filing again. Luckily, there are several bankruptcy alternatives you could use to help:

  • Credit counseling: You’ll work with a financial expert to create a plan to repay your debts and get your finances back on track.
  • Debt relief: You may be able to negotiate a lower debt total with certain creditors. This could lower your payments and help you get out of debt faster.
  • Debt consolidation: You may be able to consolidate multiple debts into a new loan, ideally with a lower interest rate. Doing so could lower your payments.

Schedule a Consultation With a South Carolina Bankruptcy Attorney

No matter where you are on your bankruptcy journey, it’s a good idea to work with an experienced South Carolina bankruptcy attorney. Contact Lam Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.

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