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   Tuscaloosa, AL  35401
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If I file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, can I later convert my case to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Posted on January 16, 2014 at 2:20 PM

     Yes, you can. A debtor may, at any time, convert (or change) their Chapter 13 bankruptcy to a Chapter 7 so long as they have not already converted from another chapter, without court approval. If your situation since you have filed your Chapter 13 has changed enough, you may find that it is no longer practical to remain in it. You may have had a drop in income, change in family circumstances such as a divorce or death of a spouse, or you may have accrued additional debt such as medical bills from a serious illness.

      Whatever the case may be for you, if you decide that want to find out what a conversion to a Chapter 7 in your case may look like, you need to contact your attorney as soon as possible to schedule a meeting. Only your attorney can properly evaluate your situation and tell you exactly how a conversion would impact you and your property.

      The first step in making the determination of whether converting would be in your best interests, is whether you qualify for a Chapter 7 discharge or not. While it is your right to convert to a Chapter 7, you still must qualify by passing the Means Test just as any other filer would be required to do so. This means that you will need to give your attorney the most recent 6 months of your paystubs, as well as those of your spouse. If you pass the means test, Mr. Elmer will schedule a final meeting to discuss any other matters pertaining to your case before converting it.

      Keep in mind that a discharge received in Chapter 7 is different than a discharge received under Chapter 13, and is not quite as broad as to the debt which is done away with. Several types of taxes as well as back owed child & spousal support are not discharged under Chapter 7. Also, think back to why you filed Chapter 13 in the first place. You may have filed it so as to pay for a car, catch up a mortgage, or because you owned too much property outright. All of these, and some other factors, will need to be considered as you make your decision. That is why it is important for you to have a competent and experienced bankruptcy attorney in the first place.

 

- Kenneth

 

Categories: Chapter 13, Chapter 7