Can I file for bankruptcy more than once?
Many people are surprised to learn that they can file for bankruptcy more than once. In fact, there are no limits placed on the number of times you can file for bankruptcy. However, there are limits that apply to how often you can receive a discharge of your debts in bankruptcy.
In this blog, we will explain the timing limitations for repeat bankruptcy filings, whether you can re-file for bankruptcy if your case was dismissed and why you might want to file for bankruptcy even if your debts cannot be discharged.
In my practice as an Orlando bankruptcy lawyer, I get this question in nearly every consultation in my office. The question is, “Can I get rid of my student loans in a bankruptcy?”. The answer is not so simple. It’s not yes and it’s not no. Lawyers love to say, “it depends.” In this case, that rings true.
Almost four million people who bought homes and took out home-equity lines of credit between 2005 through 2008 are about to go into the repayment period. Right now you may have just been paying intSomething Wicked This Way Comes – HELOC Reset Almost four million people who bought homes and took out home-equity lines of credit between 2005 through 2008 are about to go into the repayment period. Right now you may have just been paying interest only and it has been something you can manage. The repayment period includes interest AND principal and typically shoots the payment WAY UP.
Bankruptcy. You hear the word more and more these days. Whether it is Puerto Rico flirting with filing bankruptcy in an effort to reorganize their debts or the rapper 50 Cent filing bankruptcy to protect himself from creditors – bankruptcy is in. And you know what is out? Or at least slowly evaporating? The stigma of filing bankruptcy is nearly extinct. Historically bankruptcy was a word that carried shame and a connotation of failure. No more.
When you file bankruptcy, our office attends a Meeting of Creditors (341 Meeting) with you. We never hire outside counsel or a cover lawyer to attend. We appear with you. It is scheduled about 30 days after you file your bankruptcy. The hearing itself only lasts a couple of minutes. As each year that bankruptcy filings decrease, the trustees (court appointed people to review your estate) become stricter. Trustees receive a percentage of what is administered as their compensation.
It is a common occurrence in my practice. An elderly couple, overwhelmed by credit card debt and dependent on a set income, ask to meet with me for a free bankruptcy consultation. For them, there is no light at the end of their dark, financial tunnel. They feel as if time is running out.
Bankruptcy. Sometimes the last resort is the best resort. There is a light at the end of everyone's tunnel. For example, a retirement pension/401K or IRA cannot be seized in a bankruptcy. Social security is also untouchable, as is a person's home.
Many of my clients are having problems paying their student loans. And for good reason – the proliferation of so called "schools" have dotted the landscape. If you are home during the day nearly every TV commercial is from some for profit school trying to earn government financial aid money AT YOUR EXPENSE. Most of these schools eat up your financial aid money and leave you with an "education" that can barely get you a job and saddled with student loan debt. Just because the name has school in the title does not mean it is serving your best interest.
I recently spoke to a desk clerk at the bankruptcy court and she told me pro se bankruptcy filings are on the rise. Filing pro se is when you file without a lawyer helping you. Sometimes you pay less to a paralegal to prepare the documents. Sometimes they charge as low as $275. They may advertise in the same places as a lawyer. All too often me and my clients share a wink at the bankruptcy court when we see one of these “pro se” filers getting grilled by the bankruptcy trustee here in Orlando. It is scary.
Google recently changed their algorithm to penalize mug shot websites. An interesting article by Moses and Rooth who are criminal attorneys in Orlando explained how these websites were affecting their clients. The article explained how these companies were charging money to remove your name from the site even if the cases were dismissed.
The Federal Housing Administration will allow a bankruptcy debtor to get a mortgage backed by FHA in as little as one year after bankruptcy – if certain minimal criteria are met.
The one year timeframe also applies to short sales and even foreclosures
This is yet another acknowledgment that the “stigma” of bankruptcy has been replaced by the “necessity” of bankruptcy.