When financial problems lead you to consider filing for bankruptcy, it's no wonder that paying the associated costs to do so becomes an issue. Knowing what to expect can help you be better prepared, so read on to find out about paying filing fees, attorney fees, and other related costs when filing for bankruptcy.
Since bankruptcy is a federal matter, the fees are the same in all states. Most consumers file either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. For a chapter 7 bankruptcy, the filing fee is $335.00 and for chapter 13 the fees total $310.00. In some cases (particularly with chapter 7 filings), the filing fee is waived or may be paid in installments.
You must now participate in two classes—one prior to your filing and one after you file. The first class, the credit counseling class, costs anywhere around $50.00, depending on the approved provider's fees. The debtor education class also varies in prices and might be from $50.00 to $100.00. As with the federal filing fees, some indigent filers can apply to have reduced or free classes.
In most cases, you cannot expect to have your case filed until you have paid the attorney's fees. Attorney fees vary widely across the country, but you can phone a few attorneys and find out their fees for the two types of bankruptcies. Take a look at the difference in legal fee payments between a chapter 13 and an chapter 7:
Chapter 13 – Since a chapter 13 bankruptcy filing is a repayment plan for your debts, it's simple to add your attorney fees onto the debts listed on the debt matrix. In fact, the courts ensure that your attorney is paid by focusing your first few debt repayments on paying your attorney. To get things started, you might make a certain minimum payment to the attorney, have the case filed, and then pay the remainder of the balance off in regularly scheduled payments. Since chapter 13 debt repayment bankruptcy cases can take several years to be completed, attorneys often charge higher fees for representation.
Chapter 7 – Attorneys usually have an understanding of the financial struggles of those declaring bankruptcy. In many cases, your attorney will take installment payments for their legal fees and then file the case once you have paid the full legal fees in addition to the court filing fees.
Speak to a bankruptcy attorney if you need Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing assistance or to learn more about filing for bankruptcy in general.