How Bankruptcy Chapters Differ

Faced with all the issues in considering bankruptcy, it can be hard to get your arms around the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

The table below compares various aspects of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

Chapter 13 Chapter 7
Fees Lower initial cost- generally more expensive than 7 over the life of the plan Generally less expensive than 13 depending on issues and locality
Timing Case can be filed quicker because fees can be paid through plan. Case can’t be filed until all fees are paid.
Credit reporting 7 years from the date of filing in major credit reporting agencies 10 years from the date of filing.
Risk Trustee generally supportive of your bankruptcy choice. More scrutiny. UST charged with finding “abusers”.
Assets You keep all your assets You keep all exempt assets; trustee may liquidate non-exempt assets.
Control You have absolute right to dismiss the case; can convert to Chapter 7 Dismissal unavailable; trustee directs case. Conversion to 13 possible
Discharge Broader discharge in 13 More debts survive 7
Voluntary Secured debts Cure payable over life of plan-strip down may be possible Liens survive discharge 
Costs Filing fee $281 Filing fee $306
401(k) loans Repayment permitted Repayment excluded from allowable expenses for means test


There are lots of other differences that an experienced bankruptcy attorney can explain.

Read more

Chapter 7 explained

How 13 works

What  you have to do to file bankruptcy

Your house in bankruptcy


About the Author
Northern California bankruptcy lawyer Cathy is a 30+ year veteran of bankruptcy practice in the Silicon Valley. She is known for energetic representation of clients and her command of bankruptcy law.