How long after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can you file for Chapter 13?
If you receive a discharge in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you cannot get another Chapter 7 discharge for eight years and you cannot get a discharge in Chapter 13 bankruptcy unless you wait to file for four years.
Note that the rules don't prevent you from filing for bankruptcy; they only prohibit a discharge. That means you can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy sooner than four years, but that you won't receive a discharge of your remaining debts at the end of your repayment plan.
Many people benefit from filing for Chapter 13 right after finishing a Chapter 7. It's common enough that it has earned it's own informal name -- "Chapter 20 bankruptcy."
You can use a "Chapter 20 bankruptcy" to deal with debts that were not discharged through your Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The Chapter 13 repayment plan gives you an opportunity to pay off those debts over three or five years with the protection of the bankruptcy court.
Updated by: Kathleen Michon, J.D.