When a Chapter 13 payment plan bogs down due to reduced income or other financial setbacks, the debtors may find it necessary to convert to a Chapter 7 and discontinue the Chapter 13. The debtor in a Chapter 13 proceeding in Arkansas or any other jurisdiction has a right to make that conversion at any time. One problem that may arise, however, is regarding the debtor's monthly payments still held by the Chapter 13 trustee and not distributed to creditors at the time of conversion to Chapter 7. As a general rule, the trustee usually refunds that balance to the debtors after deducting fair sums for administrative expenses.
The trouble with much of the conventional wisdom about debt overload is that it often asks for virtually superhuman financial sacrifice by, in one way or another, paying off essentially all of the debt that is owed. Programs such as consolidation plans, paying one debt at a time, or even negotiated "reduced" settlements with each creditor are all treacherous and exhausting pathways that often fail or provide no long-term benefit to the debtor. When one does the math and makes relevant comparisons, no remedy works better in Arkansas or nationwide than a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
In all bankruptcy districts, including in Arkansas, the debtor is given statutory exemptions to retain certain property in a bankruptcy. The Chapter 7 trustee has the obligation to sell the debtor's property that is not exempt, and to distribute the proceeds to the creditors. In most consumer bankruptcies, however, the exemptions are sufficient to allow debtors to retain their basic furnishings, belongings and other specified property.