Chapter 7 is a "Straight Liquidation." In a Chapter 7, we can usually eliminate unsecured debts, such as credit cards, medical bills, repossession deficiencies, and signature loans, which allows you to get a fresh start and financial independence. Filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition allows you to keep exempt property up to a certain value including the family home, car, and household possessions.
You will have to pass the “means test” which will determine your eligibility for Chapter 7. If you have incomes higher than the state median income you may have difficulty being eligible for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. You will not be granted a discharge from debt, if you were discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy within past eight years.
Chapter 13 is a "Debt Consolidation," or "Wage Earners Plan." Chapter 13 is primarily designed to allow you to stop foreclosures and repossessions, and it allows you to make up the back payments in a 36-to-60 month plan. In a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, we can also consolidate other bills, such as your car payment, whereby you may be able to pay the value of the car and not the loan balance. Other debt that can be consolidated includes tax debts, student loans and child support or alimony arrears. Payments are made from disposable income (i.e., whatever is left over after necessities like food and shelter, have been allowed for), while you retain your assets.
Record of bankruptcy filing may remain on your credit report for up to ten years from the date of filing, although some creditors will report a Chapter 13 bankruptcy for only seven years. Creditors may prefer to see this form of bankruptcy, since successful completion of the plan may pay more debts than will be paid under a Chapter 7 filing.