A three to five year period is a long time to be making Chapter 13 plan payments. Sometimes circumstances change for debtors and they are no longer able to make their plan payments. Converting a case from a Chapter 13 to a Chapter 7 is a very easy process. It can be done by filing a motion or a notice with the Court. The law allows a debtor to convert the case at any time and for virtually any reason. It does require a small filing fee.
Before a debtor converts the case, the debtor needs to understand the ramifications of converting to a Chapter 7 case. If a debtor has too much equity in a house, a car or other property that is not protected by state exemption laws, the Chapter 7 trustee could take and sell that property for the benefit of unsecured creditors.