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Is it easier to get a chapter 7 discharge than a chapter 13?

Los Angeles, CA |

Bankruptcy question

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Way easier! ... assuming you qualify for Ch7.


  2. A successful chapter 7 case is over in about 4 months and results in discharge of most, if not all, unsecured debts. The debtor must "qualify" for a chapter 7 by passing a "means test" and not have too much equity in non-exempt assets. A Chapter 13 discharge is granted upon successful completion of the Chapter 13 Plan and can take up to 60 months of monthly payments from the debtor, the size of which is dependent on the debtor's budget. If more details are needed, I offer a free telephone consultation.


  3. That question is really an apples vs oranges dilemma. In running, it is like asking whether it is easier to run uphill or downhill. Uphill running is much more taxing on the cardiovascular system (heart and lungs), but running downhill puts an entirely different mechanical stress on your feet and legs (than running on flat or uphill grades).

    Debtors who become familiar with bankruptcy chapters will often set up a false choice in their head by assuming that they have a choice between which bankruptcy chapter to file. In addition, chapter 13 and chapter 7 don't do the same things. It is like asking which is better, an airplane or a car. Both are used to go from point A to point B, but there are places you can't go with a car that you an with a plane. Same is so for chapter 13 vs chapter 7. If your goal is to get to Hawaii, you can only take a plane. If your goal is to save your house from foreclosure, your only option is chapter 13 (within the bankruptcy world). If you don't have a drivers license, you don't qualify to drive a car. If you can't qualify for chapter 7, you can't do a chapter 7. So, in short, we cannot compare chapter 7 to chapter 13 as to which is "easier."

    Having said that, as others have stated, if the question is which chapter generally requires less work and less resources to complete, that is chapter 7. Moreover, factually, nearly all chapter 7 bankruptcies achieve discharge whereas a very small percentage of chapter 13's ever do so (less than 25%).


  4. The discharge of a chapter 13 case is contingent on the sucessful completion of repayment plan over 3 to 5 years. In that respect, a discharge is more difficult in chapter 13.