How long do I have to wait before I can file for bankruptcy? 35 Answers as of July 08, 2013

Due to the holidays, I have ended up with massive credit card bills, and I know I'll never be able to afford the interest. Is it illegal to file for bankruptcy soon after charging things to my credit card? How long do I have to wait?

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Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
You run the risk of not being able to show intent to repay those debts.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 7/8/2013
Heupel Law
Heupel Law | Kevin Heupel
You should wait at least 90 days after you have stopped using your credit cards. Otherwise, the creditors can object to the discharge of your debt and ask the court to dismiss your case.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 1/17/2012
Ashman Law Office
Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
It may be fraud or grounds to deny a discharge.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 12/30/2011
Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
It is illegal to charge up your credit cards without intending to pay them. If you file bankruptcy less than 90 days prior to incurring the debt, it is presumed that you didn't intend to pay the debt. The creditor has the right to sue you in bankruptcy court in what is called an adversary proceeding to determine the non dischargeability of the debt. As an alternative to chapter 7 you might want to consider a payment plan under chapter 13. This is a serious issue and you should seek the advice of an attorney who is a certified specialist in bankruptcy law. Consult the State Bar website for a listing of those attorney in your area.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/29/2011
Joseph Lehn, Esq
Joseph Lehn, Esq | Lehn Law, PA
You will need to wait at least 90 days since the date of your last credit card purchase before filing your bankruptcy petition.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 12/29/2011
    The Barger Law Firm
    The Barger Law Firm | Jason W. Barger
    Generally, purchases or incurring of debt in contemplation of bankruptcy may not be discharged. For example, if you run up substantial debt with no intention of repaying the debt, such debts are non-dischargeable. If you are able to overcome this issue, then, specifically, consumer debts owed to a single creditor and aggregating more than $550.00 for luxury goods or services, including cash advances incurred by an individual debtor on or within 90 days before filing are presumed to be non-dischargeable.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 12/29/2011
    Rhonda R. Werner Schultz, PL
    Rhonda R. Werner Schultz, PL | Rhonda R. Werner Schultz
    Any charges within 90 days of filing a bankruptcy can automatically be denied discharge if they are for non-necessities of life. If gifts for others or yourself were purchased on the cards with the intention of subsequent discharge you will need to wait at least 90 days to file. Do not use the cards anymore. In addition, any charges made when you are considering bankruptcy and know that you cannot pay them can be perceived as fraudulent charges and the credit card companies or other creditors can come into the bankruptcy court and ask that discharge of those debts be denied. You should consult with a bankruptcy attorney about the specific charges made to find out the likelihood of any adversary complaints being filed in your bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 12/29/2011
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC
    The Law Office of Darren Aronow, PC | Darren Aronow
    There is no required amount of time to wait. However, depending on how much you charged, the creditors can claim that you committed fraud or can ask you to redeem the property you purchased. The details of your credit card usage is best to be discussed with your attorney to decide what is the best plan for you.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 12/29/2011
    Ryan Legal Services, Inc.
    Ryan Legal Services, Inc. | Kevin Ryan
    You should stop all future charges to the cards and cut them up. You should plan on waiting at least six (6) months to file, but consult with a bankruptcy lawyer NOW so that you can coordinate how you will deal with the collection process in the mean time.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 12/29/2011
    Sanders Law, P.A. | Andre Keith Sanders
    At least 90 days, preferably a bit longer.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 12/29/2011
    Jakob-Barnes Law Firm, LLC
    Jakob-Barnes Law Firm, LLC | Jennifer Jakob-Barnes
    You can legally file for bankruptcy at anytime but if you file just after incurring large amount of debt, you will more than likely have major issues in your case. Bankruptcy is designed more towards those that have incurred their debt over time.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 12/29/2011
    Lakelaw - Loop Bankruptcy
    Lakelaw - Loop Bankruptcy | David Leibowitz
    Your credit card bills for holiday gifts may not be dischargeable. Discuss your particular case with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 12/29/2011
    Carballo Law Offices
    Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
    There is a presumption that you committed fraud if you file within 90 days of using credit for luxury items or services. However, the creditor can go back one year if the creditor can prove that you never intended to pay for the luxury items or services charged. That's not hard to do if the person is unemployed or makes very little money and decides to buy a $3,000 TV or go to Las Vegas on vacation and not make any payments a few months before filing the bankruptcy case, particularly if that is unusual behavior for the person based ont the previous use of the credit card charged. You could be asked to pay back the amount charged (maybe including attorney's fee) or be sued in bankruptcy to have the court determine that the fraudulent charges are not dischargeable (and this is expensive to defend). If the amount is big enough you could even be denied a discharge which means you will never be able to get rid of those debts in the petition ever. There is even the potential for criminal charges. You need to stop using credit cards for a least 90 days and maybe even make some minimum payments for 90 days. The safest thing would be to wait a year to file the bankruptcy case but that may not be necessary depending on the situation. You need to consult with a lawyer to determine the best course of action based on the amount charged and the items or services purchased. Also, some creditors are more aggressive than others and a bankruptcy attorney knows who those creditors are based on experience.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/29/2011
    The Stockman Law Office | Mary Stockman Esq.
    It is fraud to incur debt with the expectation that you will discharge the debt in a bankruptcy proceeding.You also need to disclose gifts within the recent months before the filing. However, the creditors would have to object.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 12/28/2011
    Mazyar Hedayat and Associates
    Mazyar Hedayat and Associates | Mazyar Malek Hedayat
    While there is no set waiting period when it comes to discharging recent debts, incurring debt in anticipation of filing bankruptcy is presumptively fraudulent. If a credit card company can establish that you made charges on your account knowing that you could not repay, it can render the charges non-dischargeable: essentially gutting your bankruptcy case. But what you've described is common, and you have to do what you have to do, so I recommend seeing a qualified bankruptcy lawyer that can explain your options under *11 U.S.C. 523(a)(2)* and *727*.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 12/29/2011
    Grace Law Offices of John F Geraghty Jr.
    Grace Law Offices of John F Geraghty Jr. | John F. Geraghty, Jr.
    No there is no waiting period for filing after using them.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 12/28/2011
    The Law Offices of Kristy Qiu
    The Law Offices of Kristy Qiu | Mengjun Qiu
    You cannot discharge debts over 600 dollars that was spent in one single transaction in the last 6 months for non essential goods. But that's only if credit card companies contest the dischargeability and they usually don't.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 12/28/2011
    Law Offices of Christopher L. Hoglin, P.C.
    Law Offices of Christopher L. Hoglin, P.C. | Christopher L. Hoglin
    Typically, you should wait about 90 days. If you took out any cash advances, you should wait at least 70 days. Remember, depending on the type of credit card you charged, the creditor may have a purchase money security in the item purchased. This happens with cards which finance jewelry, appliances, furniture, electronics, etc. These items are secured and may not be dischargeable (exceptions apply) without returning the collateral (item purchased) no matter how long you wait. These creditors that have a purchase money security in such items are treated as secured creditors. This scenario equates to that of an auto loan, in order to keep the car, you must pay the loan. If you do not want to pay the loan, you must surrender your car (i.e. to keep the items purchased, you must pay the loan, otherwise, you must return the item).
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/28/2011
    J.M. Cook, P.A. | J.M. Cook
    The short answer is 90 days. Debts related to consumer goods aggregating more than $500 to any single creditor purchased within 90 days are presumed to be non-dischargeable.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 12/28/2011
    The Smalley Law Firm, LLC | Cary Smalley
    Non-essential credit card debts to any one creditor totaling more than $500 incurred within 90 days of filing bankruptcy are presumed non-dischargeable. Additionally any credit card debt incurred any time prior to filing may be deemed non-dischargeable if the creditor can prove that the debt was incurred under false pretenses.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 12/28/2011
    CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE).
    CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE). | Gary Lee Lane
    That would be 90 days.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/2/2013
    Guardian Law Group PLLC
    Guardian Law Group PLLC | C. David Hester
    Any debts that were incurred without the intent of repaying would be bankruptcy fraud. You need to take a good look at your intent and try to make things work before falling back on a bankruptcy since this may be fraudulent.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 12/28/2011
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law | Diana K. Zilko
    You have to wait at least 90 days, and not incur any new charges. Also, you still have to qualify for bankruptcy, as it is not automatic.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/28/2011
    Law Office of William C. Wood, LLC | William C. Wood
    You would generally have to wait 90 days. If you attempt to discharge a debt that was incurred within 90 days of the filing, the creditor would challenge the filing.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 12/28/2011
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    At a minimum 6 months.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/2/2013
    Judith A. Runyon, Esq. Attorney at Law
    Judith A. Runyon, Esq. Attorney at Law | Judith A. Runyon
    Stop using your cards and continue making the minimum payments for about 3 months before filing.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/28/2011
    Law Office Of Magnolia Zarraga
    Law Office Of Magnolia Zarraga | Magnolia Zarraga
    You must stop using your credit cards immediately since you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy. You must set up a free and confidential appointment with a local and experienced bankruptcy attorney in your area so that together you can determine what is best for you in your situation. Large purchases, purchases of luxury goods and cash advances prior to filing bankruptcy are a serious problem. There is always a risk that a creditor will object to discharge if you incurred any of the debt fraudulently, knowing you weren't going to repay it or if you should have known you didn't have the money to repay it. At a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney all of this will be discussed, we will analyze your credit use advise you accordingly. So unfortunately there is no set "time" that you must wait, as with other things in life, it just depends on the specific facts.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/28/2011
    Dan Wilson Bankruptcy
    Dan Wilson Bankruptcy | Dan Wilson
    Stop using your credit cards. If you know you are going to file BK you should not be taking on any more debt. Wait at least 90 days to file, longer if you can. The long term problem is you have to stop spending money you don't have.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 12/28/2011
    Gregory J. Wald, Attorney at Law
    Gregory J. Wald, Attorney at Law | Gregory J. Wald
    If the debt is for a consumer debt owed to a single creditor and aggregating more than $600.00 for luxury goods or services within 90 days prior to filing bankruptcy, or for cash advances aggregating $875.00 within 70 days prior to filing bankruptcy, those charges are presumed to be fraudulent and the creditor could sue for a determination that those charges are not discharged in the bankruptcy. If the charges are beyond the time limits for the presumption of fraud, the creditor could still potentially ask the court not to discharge the debt, but they would have to prove that you intended to defraud them. For that reason, it is best to consult with an attorney face to face or at least over the telephone regarding this issue.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 12/28/2011
    D T Pham Associates, PLLC
    D T Pham Associates, PLLC | Duncan T Pham
    You can file anytime but beware of making large-dollar or luxury items purchases with your credit cards.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 12/28/2011
    Colorado Legal Solutions
    Colorado Legal Solutions | Stephen Harkess
    It is fraudulent to make any charges on credit with the intent to discharge them in bankruptcy and not pay. There is a presumption that charges made within 90 days of filing are fraudulent. Depending on the type and amount of charges, creditors may be able to look back even farther.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 12/28/2011
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    The law states that any debt incurred 90 days prior to filing is presumed to be fraud. However, this does not mean that you can go out and charge debt and file for bankruptcy after 90 days. The bright line rule is that anything within 90 is fraud. However, debts incurred outside that period can still be fraudulent. Any debt incurred by a person who has no intent on paying the debt is fraud. So, if a creditor can prove you incurred the debt without an intent to pay the creditor can seek the debt declared fraudulent and non dischargeable. The more you charge and then file for bankruptcy the more likely it is that a creditor will object to the debt being included in a bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/28/2011
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis | Todd Mannis
    It could be a problem. How much did you charge? What were the charges for?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/2/2013
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    A minimum of three months (six months is better) after the last charge AND making payments on the cards in the interim. Otherwise, it is presumed you made the charges without any intent to pay them, which is fraud, and fraud cannot be discharged.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/28/2011
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