THE FIRST CASE WITHIN ONE YEAR:
You are not a serial filer and you get the full benefit of the automatic stay for the duration of the case with some exceptions. See our blog on the Automatic Stay.
THE SECOND CASE WITHIN ONE YEAR:
If a person files a bankruptcy petition and it is dismissed, and then the same person files another bankruptcy petition within a year of the dismissal, that person is a serial filer. The court will only allow that person to gain the benefit of the automatic stay, which protects debtors from any collection action, for thirty days. However, the 30 day stay may be extended if the proper procedure is followed and the Bankruptcy Judge is convinced that the second case is more likely to succeed than the 1st case which was dismissed.
THE THIRD CASE WITHIN ONE YEAER:
If there have been two or more bankruptcies pending within the past year there is NO AUTOMATIC STAY against any creditor. There may still be good reasons to file the third case but it will be without the benefit of the automatic stay, leaving the petitioner vulnerable to creditor actions outside of bankruptcy court.
WHY USE A LAWYER?
If anyone files a case on their own and does not comply with the Court’s Rules, the case may be dismissed on a technicality. That person may become a serial filer and can handcuff him or herself from future relief. That is why it is wise to employ a skilled attorney with bankruptcy court experience.