Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: What’s Best for You?

Faced with overwhelming debt, individuals often consider bankruptcy as a way to regain financial stability. The two most common types for individuals are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, each with distinct processes, eligibility requirements, and outcomes.

This article provides a detailed comparison of Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy, offering insights from attorneys to help you choose the right chapter based on your unique circumstances.

Understanding Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy, often referred to as liquidation bankruptcy, is designed to discharge most of your unsecured debts. It’s a process that involves the liquidation of non-exempt assets by a bankruptcy trustee to pay off creditors. It’s a relatively quick process, typically completed within 3-6 months.

Eligibility: Not everyone qualifies for Chapter 7. Eligibility is primarily determined through a means test, which compares your income to the median income in your state. If your income is too high, you may not be eligible.

Process: Once you file, an automatic stay stops most creditors from collection activities. The trustee then assesses your assets to determine if any can be sold to pay your debts. Most everyday items and often your primary residence and vehicle are considered exempt.

Outcomes: Chapter 7 can eliminate most types of unsecured debt, such as credit card debt and medical bills. However, it doesn’t discharge alimony, child support, certain tax debts, and student loans in most cases.

Understanding Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy, known as a wage earner’s plan, allows you to keep your assets and pay off your debts over time. It’s designed for individuals with regular income who can afford to make monthly payments.

Eligibility: To qualify for Chapter 13, you must have a regular income with enough disposable income to make payments under a repayment plan. There are also debt limits for unsecured and secured debts.

Process: In Chapter 13, you propose a repayment plan to make installments to creditors over three to five years. After filing, the automatic stay comes into effect, stopping most collection actions against you.

Outcomes: Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help you catch up on missed mortgage or car payments, and at the end of the payment plan, most of your remaining unsecured debts are discharged. It also offers more flexibility in dealing with secured debts and can protect co-signers.


choosing between chapter 7 and chapter 13

Key Differences Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13

The primary differences between these two chapters lie in asset liquidation, debt repayment, duration, and the handling of different types of debt.

  1. Asset Liquidation: Chapter 7 may involve liquidating non-exempt assets, whereas Chapter 13 usually allows you to keep your assets.
  2. Debt Repayment: Chapter 7 discharges most debts without repayment, while Chapter 13 involves a repayment plan.
  3. Duration: Chapter 7 is relatively quick, often completed within months, whereas Chapter 13 takes three to five years due to the repayment plan.
  4. Handling Secured Debts: Chapter 13 can be more beneficial if you’re behind on secured debts, like a mortgage or car loan.

Choosing the Right Chapter: Attorney Insights

Determining whether Chapter 7 or 13 is suitable for you depends on various factors. These include your income, debts, assets, and financial goals. Here’s where the guidance of an experienced bankruptcy attorney becomes invaluable.

  1. Analyzing Your Financial Situation: An attorney can thoroughly analyze your financial situation, including your debts, assets, income, and expenses, to determine which bankruptcy is appropriate.
  2. Understanding Legal Implications: Bankruptcy laws are complex and vary by state. An attorney can explain the legal implications of each bankruptcy type and how they apply to your situation.
  3. Navigating the Process: Whether it’s filing the petition, dealing with creditors, or attending court hearings, an attorney can navigate you through the bankruptcy process, ensuring compliance with all legal requirements.
  4. Developing a Strategic Plan: A bankruptcy attorney can help develop a strategic plan that not only addresses your current financial situation but also aligns with your long-term financial goals.

The Importance of Legal Assistance

The decision to file for bankruptcy and choosing the right chapter is a significant one with long-lasting financial implications.

An attorney’s assistance in this process is not just helpful – it’s essential. They offer the expertise and guidance needed to navigate the complexities of bankruptcy law, ensuring that your rights are protected and you are making the best possible decision for your financial future.

Choosing between Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy requires a careful assessment of your financial situation and an understanding of the nuances of each option.

While Chapter 7 might be suitable for those looking for a quick discharge of unsecured debts, Chapter 13 could be the better option for individuals with a steady income who seek to retain their assets and reorganize their debts.

Consulting with a bankruptcy attorney is critical in making this important decision. Their expertise and guidance are invaluable in navigating the complexities of bankruptcy law and ensuring that the path you choose is the one best for your unique financial circumstances.

Remember, bankruptcy is not just a legal process, it’s a step towards a new financial beginning. The choice you make can set the tone for your financial future.


Learn More

At Blue Bee Bankruptcy, our lawyers are highly experienced in bankruptcy options. More importantly, we understand that each case we receive is unique and each client has different needs and goals. We will discuss these signs with you and decide the best route to take.

We strive to help our clients rebuild their lives and take steps toward a better financial future through filing. 


Best Bankruptcy Attorneys in Salt Lake City


If you’re dealing with the potential of bankruptcy, give us a call. Our team will work to help you by reviewing all of the options our firm has available. We will ensure you’ll get the best possible outcome for your situation.

Get in touch today so we can start working on either halting bankruptcies or preventing them from taking place altogether!

Contact Us Today For Help! You can schedule your free consultation online or call us at (801) 285-0980.


Blue Bee Bankruptcy Law Firm

Rebuild Your Life After Bankruptcy
Get FREE information on rebuilding your credit.
Start Today