Repeated Filings Under Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Shortened Or No Automatic Stay

Law Blog

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 5.2 million Americans were unemployed for over 6 months in April 2012. The job economy has not improved much in the past several years, and many Americans are feeling the heat of growing debts. It is not uncommon for an individual to get caught in a bad place and file for bankruptcy under chapter 7 more than once. Although the process involved with filing is the same, you may either get a shortened automatic stay, or none at all, depending on how many times you have already filed for bankruptcy under chapter 7.

The Basics of an Automatic Stay

Many Americans file for bankruptcy to enjoy the benefit of an automatic stay. From the moment that you file for chapter 7 bankruptcy, the law will protect you from creditors by imposing an automatic stay. This means that creditors are prohibited from taking any collection action, such as wage garnishing, against you while your bankruptcy application and file is being processed.

Time Limit Between Filings

Once you have filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are not allowed to file for bankruptcy under chapter 7 again for a minimum of 8 years. After filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy, you cannot file for chapter 13 bankruptcy for at least 4 years. On the other hand, if you have previously filed for chapter 13 bankruptcy, you cannot file for chapter 7 bankruptcy until 6 years have passed.

Repeatedly Filing for Bankruptcy

If you have been repeatedly filing for bankruptcy, whether it is under chapter 7 or 13, you lose the privilege of enjoying an automatic stay. This rule has been outlined by the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCA) to prevent bankruptcy abuse. If you file for chapter 7 bankruptcy within one year after the previous case has been dismissed, the automatic stay will only last 30 days. If more cases have been filed, then the automatic stay will not be implemented.

In these situations, you will need to contact a chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney in order to request for an automatic stay with the court. You can either request for an automatic stay for a specific amount of time if you are not eligible for an automatic stay to begin with or you can request for the automatic stay to be extended. To do so, however, you will need to provide proof that the bankruptcy case was not filed in poor faith.


To regain the privilege of enjoying an automatic stay, you will need to speak with a chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney to discuss how you can prove that you are filing for bankruptcy under good faith, and the type of action that you will take to make sure that you can pay off creditors. Depending on your history with bankruptcy filings, you may also have to go to court to convince a judge that not taking advantage of or abusing the system.


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