In most cases if you hire someone to perform a legal service for you then there will be some sort of fee involves. Filing bankruptcy is no different. Whether you hire a bankruptcy lawyer to guide you through the process or attempt a do it yourself bankruptcy, there will most likely be fee requirements. Hopefully this blog will give you some sense of what you may pay if you are considering a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the near future.
1. Court Fees
As of 2012 the filing fees associated with personal bankruptcy are as follows: $306 for Chapter 7, and $281 for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Typically these are mandatory fees that are expected as soon as the debtor (or the debtor’s attorney) files the bankruptcy paperwork. In rare cases the debtor can ask the court to waive the filing fees if they believe it will cause them hardship to come up with the funds.
2. Attorney’s Fees
Each bankruptcy attorney will create his or her own fees generally based upon an estimate of how much work the case will take. In most cases bankruptcy lawyers charge less for Chapter 7 cases because they are over quicker, take less work, and are all around more simple to work on. As of today the going rate for Chapter 7 attorney’s fees can range from $1000-$2000 depending on the attorney, the location, and the specifics of the case. Chapter 13 cases usually cost more because of the sheer complexity that is involved. Sometimes bankruptcy attorneys will allow the bulk of their fees to be included in the Chapter 13 repayment plan that will last 3-5 years.
3. Additional Fees
Although it may seem that the court fees and attorney’s fees are enough already you should always be prepared for bankruptcy to throw a few curve balls. Depending on your case and your attorney you may have a few additional fees. Some of these fees may include the 2 courses that filing bankruptcy requires. These courses can be taken online, over the phone, or in person and are typically between $40-50 dollars a piece. You may also be asked to provide the court with an appraisal of your home or vehicle which could also require additional fees.
Again, the cost of your particular bankruptcy case will depend on many variables so it may be in your best interest to obtain several quotes from local attorney’s so that you can choose the best option for you. Before signing any contract be sure you are aware of what additional costs your attorney will cover and which ones you will be required to handle. Also, pay careful attention to the payment timeline that the attorney requests. Some attorneys want all of the fees to be paid before the case is filed, and others are more lenient. Don’t let the cost of filing bankruptcy scare you from doing something that could truly benefit your financial future.