Bankruptcy Case Dismissed with Prejudice
If a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 debt consolidation plan is dismissed, then it's usually dismissed without prejudice. This means that the debtor can file again right away; however if you have abused the bankruptcy process or if you intentionally disobey court orders, then your Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 debt consolidation plan may be dismissed with prejudice. Dismissal will generally mean that you are prohibited from filing another bankruptcy case for a certain period of time. Our Montgomery bankruptcy attorneys have seen this occur and the ban from filing that we have seen ranges from a minimum of 6 months to a maximum of 3 years.
As previously stated if your bankruptcy case is dismissed with prejudice it can mean that you can't file again for specified period of time or that when you do file again certain debts cannot be eliminated by a discharge. The bankruptcy code states that you shall not file another Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 debt consolidation within 180 days if your case was dismissed because you intentionally disobeyed orders of the court or that you ask that the court to have your case dismissed after a creditor filed a Motion for Relief from the Automatic Stay. Bankruptcy judges have great discretion when entering an order of dismissal. Usually the judge is trying to prevent bankruptcy fraud and abuse from occurring. For example, abuse of the bankruptcy system could be when a debtor files four or five failed bankruptcy cases over a period of 4to 5 years. The severity of how long a debtor may be barred from filing another bankruptcy depends upon the conduct of the debtor.
Our Montgomery bankruptcy attorneys stress that our clients must follow all of the bankruptcy rules and procedures in order to successfully complete the Chapter 13 debt consolidation plan or Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Basically if you fail to follow the rules of the Court, then a bankruptcy judge can dismiss your case and you will not receive the necessary discharge of your debts. We have been very fortunate that with the thousands of clients that we have represented that only a handful have ever been dismissed with prejudice. Most of the clients only received a 180-day ban from filing another bankruptcy case; however, we have seen other cases that have been dismissed for the following reasons: first, the debtor attempted to hide assets or lied on his bankruptcy papers and committed perjury. This is considered bankruptcy fraud! Second, the debtor has filed numerous bankruptcy cases which were never completed, and the intention is to delay or hinder creditors from pursuing collection of debts. Third, the debtor willfully and intentionally disobeyed the Court's orders.
When the bankruptcy court has dismissed your case with prejudice you generally simply have to wait until the time ban has passed. After the time has passed, as long as you file in good faith you simply refile your case and move forward. In some instances if you feel the judge dismissed your case in error then you may appeal the judge's decision to the federal district court. Generally this is a very expensive process and we have only seen this in Chapter 11 cases, but this is not to say that it could not occur in a Chapter 7 case or Chapter 13 case. On appeal the debtor must prove that the bankruptcy judge committed some type of legal error in dismissing the case with prejudice. Regardless, it is very difficult to won the appeals.
At The Sellers Law Firm, if you have received a ban from filing another bankruptcy case, we can discuss your options on how to possibly refile. Our Montgomery bankruptcy attorneys will work with you to make sure that the errors that occurred in the previous bankruptcy case do not occur again. We have four offices in Central Alabama to serve you. We are located in Montgomery, Selma, Greenville, and Troy. All consultations are always free and we can usually meet you within 24 hours! Call us at 334-LAWYERS (529-9377) to meet our team. You can also reach us by using the “text us” link or Contact Form on our website. Remember that doing nothing changes nothing so act today!