Can I file a chapter 13 now, and when the 8 years are up between my chapter 7s, just convert the case to a chapter 7 and be done?

No.  (This confuses attorneys too, so don’t feel bad).

You must wait 8 years between chapter 7s.  This 8 year time period is calculated from the day you filed your old chapter 7 case (that eventually received a discharge) to the filing date of your new case.

What happens is that if they don’t qualify for a chapter 7 right away, many people will file a low paying chapter 13 and wait until their 8 years have run between chapter 7s.  The chapter 13 protects them from creditors as they wait for to qualify for a new chapter 7.

The problem arises where they want to convert that chapter 13 case after the 8 years have run.  The court goes from the filing date of the new case.  So if you file your chapter 13 at the 6 year mark and then eventually convert to a 7 after the 8 years have run, since it’s the same case number, the court looks at the file date of 6 years, and your case is dismissed.

If this happens to you, you can file the low paying chapter 13.  When your 8 years have run from the file date of the old case, stop paying on your chapter 13 and it will get dismissed for non-payment.  You can then file a new chapter 7, since it’s after the 8 year period now, add any new creditors, and receive a discharge.



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