Who may file bankruptcy?

     Just about anyone can file a petition in bankruptcy. Any individual who resides, is domicled or has property or a place of business in the United States can file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.  It is not even necessary that you be a U.S. citizen. Otherwords, you do not even have to reside in the United States, as long as you own some type of property in the United States. Corporations and partnerships are also able to file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, as they too are considered to be a person or separate entity. However, there are limits to where you can file. You must file in the judicial district in which you reside, are domiciled or have property or a principal place of business for six months prior to the petition being filed or for the longer portion of that six month period. It should be pointed out that you can only file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy every eight years in order to receive a discharge of most of your debts. Please keep in mind that the eight year period runs from the date that you filed your prior bankruptcy, not the date that you received your discharge. Also, you cannot receive a discharge in a Chapter 7 if you previously received a discharge in a Chapter 13, which was filed within six years of the filing of the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Even if the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy discharge was obtained in less than six years, and you paid unsecured creditors at least 70% in your Chapter 13 Plan, then you can still file for Chapter 7 and obtain a discharge. Even though you initially filed a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, circumstances may arise that determine that converting to a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is your best option. Such conversion will be allowed, as long as you are eligible for relief under Chapter 13.

     A person may file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy if they are an individual, who resides, is domiciled, or has property or a place of business in the United States. Such individual must have a regular source of income that will allow them to make their Chapter 13 plan payments. A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy can be filed at any time, even if you just recently received a discharge in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. However, there are some limitations on your ability to receive a discharge in your Chapter 13. A person who has received a discharge in a Chapter 7 can receive a discharge in a Chapter 13, as long as four years separates the time periods of the filing of the prior Chapter 7 and the filing of the Chapter 13. You cannot receive a discharge in a Chapter 13, if you received a discharge in a previous Chapter 13 that was filed in the past two years. Sometimes a person's Chapter 13 runs into a series of problems and is facing dismissal. In that case, you can convert your case to a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, as long as you have not received a discharge in a Chapter 7 that was filed within the past eight years.

Besides the various time limits on filing for bankruptcy and receiving a discharge, you cannot file for any type of bankruptcy relief for at least 180 days, if :

     1) your case was dismissed and the court determines that it was due to your willful failure to abide by court orders;

     2) you had requested and got your case voluntary dismissed following the filing of a motion for relief from the automatic stay.