Chapter 7 vs Chapter 13
Comparison Chart

We’ve prepared this comparison chart so you can get a general idea of the major differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Every case is unique. When we meet with you, we’ll discuss your situation and make a recommendation based on your income, debts, assets, etc. The Bankruptcy Code is complex, and you need an experienced attorney like Robert Russell to help you navigate the nuances and avoid problems with your case.

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Feature Chapter 7 Chapter 13
Garnishment and other collections Stopped immediately and through the duration of the case. Stopped immediately and through the duration of the case.
Preventing home foreclosure Stops a Trustee’s Sale during the automatic stay. But you still have to come up with a plan to pay the mortgage arrears if you wish to keep the house. Stops a Trustee’s Sale during the length of the case. Mortgage arrears can be included in the Plan, or eliminated completely.
Preventing vehicle repossession Stopped upon filing, but payment arrangements must be made, or collection can resume when the case is discharged. Stopped upon filing. You can repay the debt and arrears in the Plan. If you bought the car at least 2 years prior to filing, you might be eligible for a “cram down” option, which allows you to pay the amount the car is worth instead of the loan balance.
Length of Case 3-4 Months 36-60 months
Base attorney’s fees $700 $1,300
Court filing fee $335 $310
Credit counseling required Yes Yes
Required debt payments Debtor pays debts that survive bankruptcy (e.g., car, home) directly and not through a Trustee Yes, paid to the Chapter 13 Trustee, amount determined by your Chapter 13 Plan
Secured debts (house, car, furniture, etc.) If you want to keep the property, you can reaffirm the loan contract and your payment will be the same. Secured debts are paid through the Chapter 13 Plan and terms can sometimes be negotiated.
Unsecured debts (credit cards, medical bills, etc.) Discharged Discharged upon completion of your Plan. Whether these debts receive any payment depends on your Chapter 13 Plan.
Income Taxes Older income taxes can be discharged. Please visit our FAQs for more information. Taxes that survive bankruptcy must be addressed by debtor directly with the tax authority. Older income taxes can be discharged. Nondischargable income taxes must typically be paid through the Chapter 13 Plan.
Will I lose property? Most people don’t have assets above the exemption amounts. However, if you do, it’s possible it could be seized by the Chapter 7 Trustee. Typically, you don’t lose any property in Chapter 13. It’s a good option for people who have non-exempt property (like a lot of home equity). You may be required to pay the trustee a portion of your tax refunds.
Length of time on credit report Typically 10 years Typically 7 years
Non-Dischargeable Debts Student loans, child support, and certain other debts Student loans, child support, and certain other debts. However, you may be able to pay off the debt in the Chapter 13 Plan.
Ability to include post-petition debts No It’s possible to convert the case to Chapter 7 and include post-petition debts.
Future bankruptcy relief You’ll have to wait 8 years after the filing date of the first Chapter 7 case before filing another case. If you want to receive a discharge in Chapter 13 after previously filing for Chapter 13, two years must elapse between the filing dates.
Preferential Transfers (payments to friends and family within a period of time before filing) A Chapter 7 Trustee may sue to recoup the money for distribution to creditors. Ability to repay items over time without friends and family being sued.

Facing Debt or Financial Problems?

You can still regain control of your finances by reaching out to an experienced bankruptcy attorney in Washington. Let us help you resolve your financial issues skillfully, protect your assets with compassion, and utilize every means possible to achieve your desired results. Contact us for a free consultation today.

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