If I filed for bankruptcy just over 7 years ago and have lost my job so can’t pay my bills, what are my options?

Asked on August 8, 2014 under Bankruptcy Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

It's too soon to file another chapter 7 case: if you recieved a discharge in the previous chapter 7 case, you cannot file a new chapter 7 case until 8 years after your first filing. In theory, you could file a chapter 13 case now, but without income, you probably will not qualify for chapter 13 in the first place. You can try to negotiate with some lenders, to see if they will settle their debts for less and/or extend the time for you to pay, but that is voluntary on their part. If you do not have an income and have few assets (e.g. you rent instead of own, or have a home that underwater on its mortgage; do not have much in the way of bank accounts or vehicles; etc.), even if you are sued by creditors and they get judgments against you, they may not be able to actually get much or anything from you. Certain kinds of benefits (e.g. pensions), if you are receiving them, are exempt from collections.

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