If someone filed a Chapter 13 but hassincelost their job, can they now file a Chapter 7?

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If someone filed a Chapter 13 but hassincelost their job, can they now file a Chapter 7?

A married, but sole breadwinner in the family, has lost his job. He and wife have 7 kids. They live in a small eastern AR town. They filed Chapter 13 to keep from losing their house, but due to finances they have no lights or heat, so are living with relatives. What is best recourse now after just losing his job? Can they keep their car and let the house foreclose?

Asked on January 23, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Arkansas

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your situation.  Here is the thing:  if you can no longer restructure your debt because you have lost your job you can convert the Chapter 13 bankruptcy to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy for a small filing fee ($25 in most instances).  Then you can discharge the debt instead.  I can not say that this is the best recourse for you.  One would have to look at all the factors.  As for the car and the house, you have to look at the exemptionsthat are permitted under Arkansas bankruptcy law.  Arkansas allows you to choose between state and federal exemptions.  The state exemption for a car is $1200.  As for the house (homestead) it is $2500.  Are you filing jointly?  You may rather a different option like a deed in lieu of foreclosure but always remember that you want the bank to "waive any deficiency".  Please go and get help.  Legal aid or a legal clinic.  Or a local bar association that does pro bono (free) work.  Good luck to you.


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