If you’re filing for bankruptcy, then the odds are that you’re going through a time of significant financial strife. So, it’s no surprise that learning your bankruptcy case was dismissed can constitute a serious blow.
Still, depending on the reasons for the dismissal, you may be able to refile your case immediately. Keep reading to learn about the various reasons that a bankruptcy case may be dismissed, along with what your options are for refiling.
What Does it Mean to Dismiss a Bankruptcy Case Without Prejudice?
When it comes to bankruptcy cases, it’s important to know that not all dismissals are created equal. Depending on your specific circumstances, a judge may opt to dismiss your case with prejudice or without prejudice. The way your case is dismissed will determine whether you can file again immediately or if you have to wait a period of time to seek relief.
Typically, the judge dismisses a case with prejudice when they feel the filer has committed fraud. The individual in question may have hidden assets from the court, lied about their case, sought to mislead their creditors, or filed multiple bankruptcy cases in a short period of time.
Note that individuals whose cases are dismissed with prejudice may be unable to discharge debts from previous cases should they choose to file again at a future date.
On the other hand, judges sometimes opt to dismiss cases without prejudice. Preferable from the filer’s point of view, a dismissal without prejudice indicates a lack of fraud or untruthfulness. If the court renders this verdict, you can immediately file another bankruptcy case.
What Is the Criteria for a Bankruptcy to be Dismissed Without Prejudice?
There are various reasons that a judge might opt to dismiss your case without prejudice. Generally, courts dismiss cases without prejudice when the filers make one or more accidental administrative or procedural errors.
Below are some of the circumstances that may lead to this outcome in your bankruptcy case:
- Failing to file an essential form
- Failing to submit required documents, such as tax returns
- Failing to appear at court or attend confirmation hearings
- Failing to attend a required credit counseling class
- Neglecting to pay court filing fees
- Not meeting the criteria for the type of bankruptcy in question
- Not making plan payments
- Not meeting other deadlines or requirements
If your case was dismissed for one of the above reasons, you will likely be able to correct the mistake and then refile with the court.
How Soon Can I Refile a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy After Dismissal?
Having your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case dismissed without prejudice can be inconvenient and stressful. The good news is that you can refile your case right away.
Additionally, individuals whose cases are dismissed for the above reasons will have the opportunity to discharge qualifying debts in cases to come.
On the other hand, individuals whose cases are dismissed with prejudice are restricted from filing immediately. In most cases, you can file a new case 180 days after your previous one was dismissed.
However, some filers are permanently barred from discharging those debts that existed at the time they filed.
It’s worth noting that you will have to correct the mistakes and errors with your original bankruptcy case before you can file a second time. During this time, you may need to file a motion to extend or impose to keep your creditors from demanding repayment.
Will I Have the Same Protection From Creditors if I Refile?
The first time individuals file for bankruptcy, they typically receive an automatic stay. This rule prevents creditors from initiating or continuing their efforts to collect money before the case is settled.
However, it’s important to know that individuals who file a second time don’t receive the same protection. After all, the court doesn’t want debtors filing multiple cases in an effort to avoid paying what they owe. To that end, the stay in a refiled bankruptcy case lasts only 30 days.
Moreover, if the court dismissed two or more of your cases in the past year, you won’t get a period of protection upon refiling.
In some cases, individuals who refile their cases may get the court to put a stay in place. Typically, the court will grant you an automatic stay if you have a good reason for the new filing.
Trust JacksonWhite Attorneys at Law to Handle Your Bankruptcy Case
No one wants to go bankrupt. However, in these troubled times, an increasing number of people are in need of aid. If you require financial support and bankruptcy is your only option, we can help you get back on your feet faster.
At JacksonWhite, we offer a wide array of legal services to individuals, families, and businesses throughout Arizona. To learn more about how we can help you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, call our offices today or contact the team online. We look forward to being in your corner.
Call (480) 464-1111 to discuss how we can help you today.
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