Can a debtor file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and later change it to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

This can be done because there is no law or rule against it, but bankruptcy judges may look askance at this practice. In fact, this practice is familiarly and pejoratively called "chapter surfing."

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA), which was engineered by the credit card industry, raised the cost of bankruptcy and made it more cumbersome. Individuals who want a fresh start but fail the means test (they earn too much) may be forced to file the more expensive Chapter 13. Because bankruptcy is more expensive now, Chapter 13 may be the only practical remedy for wealthy individuals whose houses are now worth less than they owe or for those who have unmanageable unsecured debt.