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I Filed a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy But Found Out I’m Not Eligible for a Discharge Due to a Previous Chapter 7. – James

“Dear Lewis,

I took on more than I can handle in a short period of time. I took out secured installement loans and I got behind on them. I also had a title pawn out on my car. I then lost my job and the creditors were calling me everyday saying they were going to show up at my house with the police. But I filed a chapter 13 and now I fear it is about to be dismissed even though I have steady income now. Also because I have filed and got a dismissal for a Chapter 7 in 2008. I found out at my creditors meeting that I can’t get a discharge after my plan has finished.

I am wondering since my bankruptcy was filed too soon after the chapter 7 should I do a voluntary dismissal or left the court dismiss it. The trustee at my hearing said that I should let them dismiss it since I would’t get a discharge and I would be able to get a discharge when I filed the Chapter 13 plan again next year. Also another question will I be able to get any of the money that I have paid into the plan back and the court coses?


Dear James,

It sounds like you didn’t use an attorney to file this case? If you did, I would ask the attorney how he or she let you file a case when you couldn’t get a discharge.

First, debt collectors threatening to show up at your home with the police is a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. If it was original creditors threatening this, it may have been an Unfair and Deceptive Act Practices violation (if your state has such a statute).

If any of the creditors or debt collectors were close to a judgment and possible levy against unexempt assets or a garnishment of your wages, you might actually want to stay in chapter 13 to avoid this – even if you can’t get a discharge.

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You can dismiss your case after 4 years has passed rom the filing date of your original chapter 7, and then file a new chapter 13 in which you can get a discharge at the end.

If the creditors had not even filed suit against you, then you might be able to squeeze out the time you need (without being in chapter 13) until you can file the new chapter 13.

Each trustee’s office is different in how it disburses money on unconfirmed chapter 13 plans. If you were paying any secured debts through the plan, like mortgages or car payments, then you most likely won’t get that money back. But unsecured debts most likely will have received nothing.

So I would expect some amount of refund coming back to you.

Good luck until you can get the new chapter 13 filed!

My name is Lewis Roberts and I’m an attorney licensed in Florida and Georgia. My practice focus is consumer bankruptcy, real estate issues/closings, and mortgages. I also have Florida real estate broker and mortgage broker licenses. I am a proud member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA), National Association of Consumer Attorneys (NACA), and a graduate of Max Gardner’s Bankruptcy Boot Camp. I enjoy helping people with decisions that impact their financial well-being.

Legal Disclaimer: This is for educational purposes only. It is not to be relied upon as legal advice. It also does not create an attorney-client relationship. No such relationship is formed with attorney without a written agreement.

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Lewis Roberts

Florida Consumer Protection Attorney

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