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Attorney Peter Daigle Talks about “Filing Bankruptcy More Than Once” – May 2017 Interview

Katherine: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us today on This Needs To Be Said. Our friend, attorney Peter Daigle, is joining us again and I wanted to take a different approach because we’ve talked about bankruptcies, first of all letting you know that it’s not a bad word, the bad B word, but it’s also a way to reset your life, but what if you have to file for bankruptcy again or if you’re considering filing bankruptcy more than once , is it possible and I think from what Peter has taught us is that the short answer is yes but I think there are some parameters around that so he’s going to come today and help me with my curious mind because I always wondered. You know, we don’t just make one mistake or one goof up or we’ll have one setback in life, that’s just not the real world. So today, we’re going to talk with our friend, attorney Daigle, and find out what this looks like, if you can and if you are able to file again. Welcome back, Peter. How are you?
Peter Daigle: Great, Katherine. Thanks for having me again. It’s always a pleasure.
Katherine: Always. So I’d like to know about the people, because I’m one of those people that will goof up more than one time, so that question came to mind, so if I have to file bankruptcy again, can I, and what are some things to think about?
Peter Daigle: Well, first of all, you can file again, okay? So what happened was, just to give you some sense of the law here, in 2006 they amended the bankruptcy laws so that you couldn’t file on the heels of another one, because the credit card companies were essentially getting discharged on a constant basis, and so what they did was they changed the waiting times, okay, so let me give you what the waiting times are.
If you file for a Chapter 7, which means that you completely have wiped out your debt, okay, you have to wait another eight years before you can file another Chapter 7, okay? If you file a Chapter 7 you have to wait four years before you could file a Chapter 13, okay, to wipe out all of your debts again.
Katherine: Okay.
Peter Daigle: If you file a Chapter 13 case inside the four years, you can still file it but you have to pay back all of your debt, okay?
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Katherine: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Peter Daigle: So let’s assume for a second that you file for Chapter 7, you’ve wiped out all your debt and then, you know, three years later you’ve accumulated $10,000 more debt that you couldn’t discharge, that you couldn’t pay, then you could still file for bankruptcy but you’d have to pay it back, you’d have to pay it all back. The difference is you pay it back with no interest, no penalties and you can pay it off over a period of five years. So a debt of $10,000, for instance, would be a $200 a month payment for five years, okay?
Katherine: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Peter Daigle: So you have to wait at least the four years to do it and otherwise you’d have to wait eight years for another Chapter 7, and the creditors know this too, basically, because that’s one of the reasons why they’ve changed the laws so that they know that they can hound you, so to speak, until you pay because you’re not going to be able to run back into bankruptcy again. So, that’s kind of the basic … So now let’s look at our options, okay?
Katherine: Okay.
Peter Daigle: Now let’s assume for a second that you can’t pay the creditors when due and you’re not eligible for bankruptcy. You could certainly seek relief in a debt consolidation program, okay, where you could have a debt consolidated and you can make payments into that. You could enter into a debt settlement program, where you offer to settle your debts for less than the full amount. So, again, let’s use that same $10,000. You could go to the creditors and say, “I can’t pay you” and if, (assuming you’ve been delinquent for a while), they believe you, you can say, “I can give you, you know, $3000, $4000” or whatever. Now, obviously, that assumes that you are able to come up with the money. If you can’t come up with the money then the debt settlement is not going to work but that’s another way to settle your debt.
And another option you can do is just avoid them. Just plain avoid them and wait out the statutory period, whether it be the four years or the eight years, so you can just change your phone number, just ignore the creditors until such time and then as it gets close, I would suggest hiring a bankruptcy attorney and they can keep them off your back for a while but I wouldn’t go to the bankruptcy attorney for at least a year before you’re able to file. Okay?
Katherine: Okay. Okay. The reason I had this question, Peter, is because, like I said in the beginning of the interview, is that I don’t know that we all just do one mess up or one setback. Things can, and do happen, so I didn’t want people to feel like, “Okay, I used it one time, I can’t, I’m stuck” and it’s a waiting process, it seems, and just understanding how to maneuver it but, again, you all, we’re not saying get yourself into a jam. Don’t do it intentionally so you can work around it, that’s not what we’re suggesting here. People every day living their lives, something happens, whether it’s medical or they lose a job or something happens.
Peter Daigle: Absolutely.
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Katherine: Something happens that really sets you back. These are the people that we’re talking to, the people that would like to use this to abuse this, we’re not talking to you.
Peter Daigle: Right.
Katherine: We’re talking to people that want to reset their lives, they really want to do the right thing, they really want to live their best life and we know that living your best life isn’t looking over your shoulder, isn’t worrying about can you provide for your family. Your best life is being able to take care of your family, take care of yourself and be an asset to the community around you but sometimes things happen, so how do you get back on track, and so, if you’ve been through bankruptcy before, you’ve been through the “I feel bad about it, I didn’t pay my creditors”, the guilt, the shame, that kind of thing, so you’ve been through process, you realize it doesn’t hurt you like that, it helps you to reset, but, darn it, I’m here again and while you’re kicking the can and you’re upset about, “I’m here again”, you know that the opportunity is here for you again with given stipulations, waiting periods, and you can reset again.
You can begin again. You can start over, you can get another chance to try this one more time. Life, you know, I tell my mom all the time, if I could have figured out the being a kid thing, I would have stayed a kid, I would have stayed in her house for the rest of my life because being an adult sometimes is tough, you know, and here’s one of the things that helps you to maneuver this adult thing. We like to say, you know, being an adult and I just … I’m happy to know that there’s another opportunity. Now, I’m going to push it just a little bit more, Peter, I want to know.
Peter Daigle: Sure. Please. Please.
Katherine: If I’ve filed once, and I’ve filed twice, can I do three times? Is there a limit, is really what I’m asking.
Peter Daigle: You can do all you want, as long as you can keep waiting the eight years or the four years.
Katherine: Okay. Okay.
Peter Daigle: There’s no option in the number of times.
Katherine: Okay. Now, is there something that you would like to add that I didn’t know enough to ask about this topic for the audience?
Peter Daigle: Well, I mean, there’s no different requirement for the second time or the third time or the fourth time that you file. In other words, you’re not required to take any more counseling, there’s nothing that they make you do that would be different. It’s just a matter of you have to wait the time. So nothing changes with the process, you just have to watch the clock in order to file, okay, and so one question that may come up, might come up though, is that, “What were the circumstances that caused you file a second time?” But it’s not … The answer to that question, no matter what it is, is not something that would deny it to you, okay?
Katherine: Okay. Okay. Awesome. Well, we know one size does not fit all. These are very general questions just to give people an idea of what bankruptcy is about and to help them feel more comfortable with this method of legally resetting their lives. With that being said, I want to know how can people get in touch with you outside of This Needs To Be Said, because their situation may be just slightly different from what I’ve questioned about today.
Peter Daigle: Thank you for asking. So if you want to reach me by phone, it’s Peter Daigle, my direct line is 774-470-4446. You can go to on the web and you can contact me by email through the web and also you can request a copy of my free book, which is also on the website.
Katherine: And it’s a great book. I have to endorse that because I have a copy and it’s helped me to ask sort of fantastic questions and to better understand what the process is about, because when we started this, Peter, it was scary even for me, and I’m like, “Oh my gosh, I’m ashamed for somebody who would have to ask these questions” so I love being a mouthpiece for other people but the more we do these interviews, the more comfortable I am and I’m not an attorney but I do interview one. I feel more comfortable with having you in front of the audience each time because it’s letting them know that education, educating yourself about the process is the best thing to do and you’ve put together a fantastic book that you’re making available to anyone who orders it, so I had to add that, so definitely get a copy of the book, get in touch with him, ask the questions that you have. If you have specific questions, please ask them because I can’t ask it better than you can. You know your situation better than I do and he can help to unpack it for you and what I also like is that he’ll let you know what is the best route. He’s not here to take advantage, he’s here to help. Thank you so much, Peter. Until next time.
Peter Daigle: Okay, Katherine. Bye.
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