What Is The Difference Between Chapter 7 And Chapter 13?
Chapter 7, Liquidation, is a court-supervised procedure by which a trustee takes over the assets of the debtor's estate and reduces them to cash subject to the debtor's right to retain certain exempt property and the rights of secured creditors. Finally the trustee makes distributions to creditors.
In most chapter 7 cases, if the debtor is an individual, he or she receives a discharge that releases him or her from personal liability for certain dischargeable debts. The debtor normally receives a discharge just a few months after the petition is filed.
Chapter 13, Adjustment of Debts of an Individual With Regular Income, is designed for an individual debtor who has a regular source of income. Chapter 13 is often preferable to chapter 7 because it enables the debtor to keep a valuable asset, such as a house, and because it allows the debtor to propose a plan to repay creditors over time – usually three to five years.
Chapter 13 is very different from chapter 7 since the chapter 13 debtor usually remains in possession of the property of the estate and makes payments to creditors, through the trustee, based on the debtor's anticipated income over the life of the plan. Unlike chapter 7, the debtor does not receive an immediate discharge of debts. The debtor must complete the payments required under the plan before the discharge is received. The debtor is protected from lawsuits, garnishments, and other creditor actions while the plan is in effect.
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