When Can I File Bankruptcy for a Second Time in Colorado?

March 21, 2011

By: David M. Serafin

Unfortunately, many people in Colorado who recently have filed for bankruptcy need to file a second time.  When considering whether and when to file, you need to keep in mind the following new bankruptcy laws:

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

At least eight (8) years must elapse from the date of filing of the first bankruptcy before a second chapter 7 case can be filed.

When the first case filed was chapter 13, at least six (6) years must elapse from the date of filing of the first bankruptcy before a chapter 7 matter can be filed.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Most of my clients have previously filed for chapter 7 and now cannot afford to wait the requisite eight (8) years from the date the first bankruptcy was filed to file another chapter 7.

At least four (4) years must elapse from the date of filing of the initial chapter 7 bankruptcy before chapter 13 can be filed in order to discharge unsecured debts.

You can still file for chapter 13 bankruptcy within four (4) years of a previous chapter 7 filing but without obtaining a discharge.  (For many clients, the discharge will not be an issue if the primary reason for filing is to cure mortgage arrears, pay back Priority tax debt in full, or if a 100% chapter 13 plan is sought.)

When the first and second bankruptcies are both chapter 13s, there’s a two (2) year waiting period to obtain a discharge in the latter chapter 13 if a discharge was granted in the initial bankruptcy.  This two (2) year waiting period does not prohibit filing for chapter 13 but the debtor is ineligible for discharge if this time period is not met.

A second or third chapter 13 can be filed even if the first chapter 13 bankruptcy was dismissed but the automatic stay rules (which prohibit most types of creditor collection activity once bankruptcy is filed) are altered in the following ways: (1) the automatic stay expires within 30 days of the filing of a second bankruptcy, unless the Colorado Bankruptcy Court extends the stay, if the second chapter 13 bankruptcy is filed less than a year after the first chapter 13 bankruptcy, and (2) in a Congressional effort to discourage multiple bankruptcy filings to stop an impending foreclosure, the automatic stay does not go into effect when a third chapter 13 bankruptcy is filed, unless the Colorado Bankruptcy Court imposes the stay.   

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