Can I Switch From One Bankruptcy Chapter to Another After I File?

By Cara O'Neill, Attorney
If your situation changes after filing for bankruptcy, you can ask the court to switch, or "convert," your case to another bankruptcy chapter.

Yes, you have the right to switch or “convert” as long as you meet the eligibility requirements of the new bankruptcy chapter.

You’ll ask the judge to grant the conversion by filing a motion with the court. The judge will likely approve the first request. Courts frown on additional requests, however—especially if the filer appears to be using the system inappropriately or attempting to avoid a particular issue by repeatedly switching chapters.

The most common conversion type involves switching from a Chapter 7 to a Chapter 13 case. Typical reasons for doing so include the following:

  • The filer makes too much to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and fears the trustee will move to dismiss the case.
  • The bankruptcy trustee plans to sell property that the filer wants to keep.
  • A creditor intends to file a motion objecting to the discharge of debt.

Filers will often convert a Chapter 13 to Chapter 7 bankruptcy after the filer loses the ability to pay the monthly payments. It’s important to remember, however, that it’s possible to lose nonexempt property (property you’re not entitled to keep) when doing so.

Go to the main bankruptcy FAQ page.

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