Can I Switch Between Bankruptcy Chapters?
If you have filed for bankruptcy but your circumstances have changed slightly since filing, you might be wondering if you can be eligible to switch to a different bankruptcy chapter. In other words, if you have filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy but a change in circumstances has occurred, can you now switch to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing? Or, alternatively, if you filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy but want the benefits associated with Chapter 13 bankruptcy, can you be eligible to change the chapter of your bankruptcy filing? The process of switching from one bankruptcy chapter to another is known as converting your bankruptcy case, and it may be possible in some circumstances. Our West Palm Beach bankruptcy attorneys have more information.
Converting from Chapter 13 to Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
The most common question about switching between bankruptcy chapters is about converting from Chapter 13 bankruptcy to Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It can be possible to convert your Chapter 13 bankruptcy case to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case under U.S. bankruptcy law, but you will need to make sure that you are eligible to do so.
What is required to convert from Chapter 13 bankruptcy to Chapter 7 bankruptcy? First, you will typically need to have a reason for wanting to convert your bankruptcy case. For most debtors, a desire to convert from Chapter 13 bankruptcy to Chapter 7 bankruptcy comes up because the debtor’s circumstances have changed and the debtor will be unable to afford the Chapter 13 repayment plan terms (as a result of a job loss, for example), or the debtor is no longer interested in keeping secured property like a home through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Beyond a change in circumstances or a reason for converting your case, it is necessary to prove your eligibility for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You must still pass the means test, as you would have been required to do if you had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the first place.
Converting from Chapter 7 to Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Sometimes a debtor wants to convert from Chapter 7 to Chapter 13 bankruptcy, often because the debtor has gotten a regular and full-time job to qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and wants to use bankruptcy to keep secured property such as a home. You will need to obtain permission from the court to convert your bankruptcy case by filing a motion and, in some cases, attending a hearing. You will also need to be eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, proving that you will be able to meet the terms of a repayment plan.
In some cases, a court requires a debtor to convert to Chapter 13 bankruptcy if the debtor has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy but is in fact ineligible for a liquidation bankruptcy.
Contact a West Palm Beach Bankruptcy Lawyer for Assistance
If you have questions about converting your Chapter 7 case to Chapter 13, or vice versa, it is essential to seek advice from an experienced bankruptcy attorney in West Palm Beach. The bankruptcy process is complex enough on its own even before you consider converting your case. You should have help from an experienced lawyer who can ensure that you are eligible to convert your bankruptcy case and that you take all necessary steps. Contact Kelley, Fulton & Kaplan for more information about how we can help you.