Chapter 7 is also referred to as "straight bankruptcy." Chapter 7 lets you get rid of ("discharge") debts that are not secured by property ("unsecured debts") without paying any money to the creditors. Chapter 7 will also let you get rid of debts secured by property ("secured debts") if you are willing to give up the property to the creditor. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy typically lasts three to four months if no major problems arise.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy lets you keep property that is put up for loans ("secured debts") and lets you pay back over an extended period of time. You typically pay back up to ten percent (10%) of other debts that are not secured by property ("unsecured debts"), like credit cards, hospital bills, and pay day loans. Your lawyer writs up a payment plan based on your monthly income and the secured debt that you owe, and the plan is then approved by the bankruptcy court. Typically, these plans last approximately sixty months (5 years).