You cannot receive a discharge in a Chapter 7 case if you received a discharge in either (a) a chapter 7 bankruptcy filed within the last 8 years, or (b) a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filed within the last 6 years.
You cannot obtain a discharge in a Chapter 13 case if you either (a) obtain a discharge in a Chapter 7 case filed within the past 4 years, or (b) obtain a discharge from a Chapter 13 case filed within the last 2 years.
In some instances, you can benefit from bankruptcy even though you may not receive a discharge. For example, you can save your home from foreclosure without receiving a discharge. The automatic stay you receive when filing the bankruptcy will temporarily stop the foreclosure proceeding even if you’re not eligible to discharge other debts in the bankruptcy. You may have to obtain court authorization to keep the automatic stay in effect if you’ve had a prior case dismissed in the last 12 months.
Refiled bankruptcy petitions can be much more difficult to get approved than first time cases, and the expertise of a bankruptcy lawyer is strongly recommended whenever you are considering filing a second or third bankruptcy.
It is also possible that a court could bar you from filing bankruptcy for a period of time in the future, typically 180 days. Typically this only happens in rare situations in which a judge determines there has been substantial abuse of the bankruptcy process, or you voluntarily asked for your case to be dismissed after a creditor had been granted relief from the automatic stay in your previous bankruptcy.