If a person has filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and received a discharge in that case within 8 years they will not be able to receive a discharge in another Chapter 7 case. The dates that count are the dates of filing, not the dates of discharge. For example, if your Chapter 7 bankruptcy was filed on 1/15/02, and discharged on 4/20/02 you would be able to file a Chapter 7 after 1/15/10. You would not need to wait 8 years from the chapter 7 discharge date.
If you are not eligible to file a Chapter 7 you may still find a lot of protection in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. It is common for people who have filed and received a discharge in a chapter 7 case to find themselves in a bind due to unexpected medical bills, a car repossession or other debt. In these cases if 8 years haven't passed they may be able to file a Chapter 13 that affords the same bankruptcy protection (the automatic stay) as a Chapter 7. A chapter 13 will allow the debtor to repay the creditors an amount that is affordable based on their budget.
If you have filed bankruptcy in the past and are now facing a wage garnishment, repossession, creditor harassment, etc you may want to seek the advice of a bankruptcy attorney. There may be a lot more protection out there than you realize.
For more bankruptcy information and information about our bankruptcy law firm, visit www.pacificbankruptcy.com. Our office practices exclusively in the area of consumer bankruptcy, representing debtors in bankruptcy in Oregon and SW Washington.