Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy can provide a debtor a chance to repay their debts over time while protecting their assets. Many people who file for bankruptcy protection may not qualify for debt elimination through Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and will be granted a Chapter 13 case instead. However, some people may have their case dismissed either because (a) they experienced further financial hardships that would prevent them from repaying their debts or (b) failed to comply with the bankruptcy laws. Once a case is dismissed, seeking bankruptcy protection again may be problematic.
The most common reasons for requesting a voluntary dismissal is (a) they can repay the debts outside of bankruptcy or (b) suffered an additional financial hardship and felt they may qualify for Chapter 7. In these cases the bankruptcy court may allow them to re-file for Chapter 13 protection immediately after the case is dismissed. If there are any problems that arise with creditors disputing debt liabilities or the debtor has not completed the necessary paperwork, the re-file may be prohibited until these matters are resolved.
A bankruptcy case may be dismissed by the court if (a) there is suspicion of fraud, (b) the debtor failed to complete the paperwork or payments, or (c) there is doubt as whether the debtor could repay the debts outside of court. The debtor may be required to wait up to 180 days before being able to re-file the case. Re-filed cases may only be granted a reduced automatic stay, rather than an indefinite one. In other words, they would only be protected from creditor collections for a brief period of time.