Comedian Sinbad Files Second Bankruptcy. Can You?
Comedian and actor Sinbad, whose real name is David Adkins, filed Chapter 13 bankruptcy in April listing nearly $11 million worth of debt and $131,000 in assets. Sinbad rose to fame in the 1990s, with prominent roles in successful family films including “Houseguest” and “Jingle All the Way.” Sinbad previously filed bankruptcy in 2009, but his case was dismissed.
Sinbad’s circumstances are not uncommon. Many debtors file bankruptcy multiple times, but special bankruptcy rules exist for multiple filings.
Re-filing a bankruptcy case after dismissal
The Bankruptcy Code places refilling restrictions on the debtor after dismissal. First, if the case was dismissed due to the willful failure of the debtor to follow a court order, failure to appear before the court in prosecution of the case, or if the debtor requested a voluntary dismissal in response to a creditor’s motion for relief from the automatic stay, then the debtor is prohibited from re-filing another bankruptcy for 180 days. The 180 day period runs from the date of the dismissal, and not from the date of the previous filing.
Second, the bankruptcy automatic stay is limited to 30 days for a bankruptcy case that is re-filed within a year after dismissal. The stay can be extended upon motion to the bankruptcy court.
Re-filing after a previous discharge
The Bankruptcy Code limits the debtor’s eligibility to receive multiple bankruptcy discharges. A debtor may receive a discharge in a Chapter 7 case if eight years have passed between Chapter 7 cases, or six years have passed between a prior Chapter 13 case and the current Chapter 7 case. A debtor may receive a discharge in a Chapter 13 case if two years have passed between Chapter 13 cases, or four years have passed between a prior Chapter 7 case and the current Chapter 13 case. The time period runs from the date of the case filings.
In some cases a discharge is not necessary to obtain bankruptcy benefits. For example, a non-discharged debt may be paid under court supervision and protection in Chapter 13. In these cases a debtor may file bankruptcy and obtain bankruptcy protection irrespective of the discharge limits.
If you have filed bankruptcy previously and find yourself needing debt relief, speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. The federal bankruptcy laws are there to help the honest, but unfortunate debtor obtain a fresh start.