"How many times can I file bankruptcy?"

Question: I used to be a stockbroker, then I opened a restaurant and then I invested in a friend's satirical magazine. The publication was supposed to be a little like National Lampoon and a little like Charlie Hebdo, the French magazine that got attacked by terrorists. But things didn't work out because my friend lost the money on gambling and drugs. He's getting treatment for a gambling addiction and drugs in Atlanta.

I've been living off of credit cards for about a year. I'm trying to get a job as a teacher but my criminal background (I was did a robbery in college) is getting in the way. They don't want a felon around little kids. But I've always wanted to be a preschool teacher.

Anyway, I need to file bankruptcy. I'm getting harassed by creditors who say I owe them money. The problem is that I have already filed bankruptcy; that was almost 12 years ago. That's when I managed a bar in Atlanta and I got arrested. I had to get rid of the debts.

I need to know how often I can file a chapter 7 bankruptcy. If I could file a chapter 7, I can wipe my debts and go back to school to complete my degree. I want to get married and write children's books. I want to write one about bankruptcy so that kids will know all about it.

G.Z. in Atlanta

Answer: The good news is that there is no limit placed on the number of times a person can file bankruptcy. You can file a chapter 7 every 8 years. And a chapter 13 is available even more frequently than that.

It is very common for people to file bankruptcy more than once. Bankruptcy law exists so that people (and companies) can discharge their debts and get a fresh financial start. It would be wonderful if you could write a children's book explaining the constitutional right to file bankruptcy and how it helps millions of struggling Americans.

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