So you’ve filed for bankruptcy and your case gets dismissed for one reason or another; can you refile?

I get this question on a regular basis from debtors who usually file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Here is a basic understanding of what happens when a bankruptcy gets dismissed and what can be done.

Why was my case dismissed

Chapter 7 – Typically a Chapter 7 bankruptcy gets dismissed when certain bankruptcy papers are not filed on time.  These papers may include the petition, the pay advices, or the proof of creditor counseling.

Chapter 13 – Chapter 13 cases are usually dismissed because a debtor falls too far behind on their payment plan and the trustee files a notice of non-compliance to dismiss the case.

Dismissal vs. Discharge

A dismissal basically means that your bankruptcy failed and you are liable for all of your debts.  A dismissal is not the same as a discharge, as a discharge occurs at the completion of bankruptcy, and your debts are wiped out.

Can a Debtor undo a dismissal

Depending on how soon you catch the dismissal you may be able to re-instate your case by either filing the missing documents or playing catch up on the monies you are short.

Prejudice Period and How to Reduce It

Once a debtor’s bankruptcy case is dismissed there is a prejudice period that prevents the debtor from filing a new bankruptcy case.  A typical bankruptcy prejudice period is 180 days or six months which means that the debtor cannot file his or her new case until six months, from the date of dismissal, has passed.  A bankruptcy attorney can go to court to request that the prejudice period be shortened, however, they will need to show good cause to allow this to occur.

If your bankruptcy case has been recently dismissed and you are considering refiling please contact bankruptcy attorney Ofer Shmucher of Shmucher Law, PL by calling 305-741-5553 to schedule a free consultation in our Miami office.  We represent debtors in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties.