When Would Someone Be Restricted From Filing For Bankruptcy?

Facing overwhelming debt? Bankruptcy can offer a lifeline, but it’s not for everyone. Certain situations can restrict you from filing.

This article will explore why someone might be prevented from seeking bankruptcy protection.

An infographic explaining When Would Someone Be Restricted From Filing For Bankruptcy

Alternatives to Bankruptcy

Consolidating Debt: Simplify your repayments by taking out a new loan to pay off existing debts.

This move could potentially secure you a lower interest rate.

However, ensure the new loan’s interest rate is lower than your current debts to avoid paying more over time.

Managing Debt through DMP: A Debt Management Plan (DMP) offered by credit counseling agencies negotiates lower interest rates and monthly payments with creditors.

You’ll make one monthly payment to the agency, which distributes funds to your creditors.

Credit Counseling: Seek guidance from a credit counselor to craft a budget and repayment plan tailored to your financial situation. They offer educational resources to bolster your personal finance knowledge.

Negotiating with Creditors: Directly negotiate with creditors to lower interest rates or monthly payments.

Articulate your financial status and repayment capability to reach mutually beneficial terms.

Boosting Income: Explore avenues to increase your income, such as part-time work or side hustles. This extra cash can accelerate your debt repayment journey.

Trimming Expenses: Review your budget and identify areas to cut expenses.

Consider reducing dining out, canceling unused subscriptions, or finding affordable entertainment options to free up funds for debt repayment.

Types of Bankruptcy

Individuals typically consider two primary types of bankruptcy:

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy (Liquidation): Often chosen by individuals, Chapter 7 focuses on discharging most unsecured debts like credit card balances and medical bills.

A court-appointed trustee sells non-exempt assets to repay creditors, while essential items such as clothing and household goods are usually retained.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy (Repayment Plan): This chapter involves creating a court-approved repayment plan spanning 3-5 years to repay a portion or all debts.

Monthly payments are made to a trustee who then distributes funds to creditors. Unlike Chapter 7, Chapter 13 allows individuals to retain their assets.

It’s important to understand that these are individuals’ primary types of bankruptcy, but other chapters like Chapters 11, 12, and 15 may be applicable based on specific circumstances.

Qualifying for Bankruptcy

Means Test: This evaluates your income compared to the median income for your household size in your area.

If your income is below the median, you’re likely eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, higher income may lead to Chapter 13 repayment plans.

Residency Criteria: You must have lived in the bankruptcy district for a period, usually 180 days, before filing.

Income Boundaries: While the means test is crucial, some courts impose income limits for Chapter 7 filers.

Even if you pass the means test, exceeding these limits might steer you toward Chapter 13.

Previous Bankruptcy Filings: There are waiting periods between filings, varying based on previous bankruptcy chapters.

For instance, there’s typically an eight-year wait to file Chapter 7 again after a prior Chapter 7 discharge.

Seeking guidance from a bankruptcy attorney is essential to assess your eligibility and chart the best path forward for your unique situation.

They provide invaluable support in understanding the means test, and residency requirements, and addressing any complexities stemming from prior bankruptcy filings.

Restrictions on Bankruptcy

While bankruptcy can provide a fresh start for those burdened by debt, it’s essential to understand its limitations.

Here’s a simplified overview of common restrictions on filing for bankruptcy:

Recent Bankruptcy Filings: There are waiting periods between filings to prevent misuse.

For example, if you previously discharged debts under Chapter 7, you may need to wait eight years before filing again under the same chapter.

Abuse of the System: Manipulative actions, like hiding assets or incurring excessive debt before filing, are frowned upon and can lead to case dismissal or extended restrictions.

Luxury Spending Pre-Filing: Splurging on luxury items shortly before filing may be scrutinized.

The court could question your financial decisions and deny your petition if it appears funds could have been used to repay creditors.

Tax Debt: Bankruptcy typically doesn’t erase certain debts like tax debt, student loans, or alimony obligations. These obligations persist even after bankruptcy.

Prior Discharged Debts: If you’ve previously discharged a certain type of debt through bankruptcy, you may not be able to discharge it again within a specified timeframe.


There are a variety of factors to consider when determining eligibility for bankruptcy.

These factors include income level, residency requirements, prior bankruptcy filings, and restrictions related to recent financial behavior.

Additionally, it’s crucial to consult with a bankruptcy attorney to navigate the complexities of the process and understand how these factors may apply to individual circumstances.

While bankruptcy can offer relief for those struggling with debt, it’s essential to approach the d

decision with careful consideration and professional guidance.

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