How much does it cost to file bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy filers pay a fee to file for court bankruptcy protection
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You’re filing bankruptcy because you’re having a hard time affording to pay all your debts, but unfortunately, filling bankruptcy isn’t free. The cost of filing bankruptcy depends on the type of bankruptcy you’re filing.

Bankruptcy Filing Costs

It costs $335 to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy and $310 for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. These are the filing fees required by the United States Court. If an attorney or bankruptcy filing service tells you that your bankruptcy can be filed for less than this, it's likely a scam.

 

These are the basic filing fees. Certain actions with your case may incur additional fees. For example, there are additional fees to convert a Chapter 13 case to Chapter 7 case, to reopen a bankruptcy case, or for payments returned for insufficient funds.

USCourts.gov maintains a list of all bankruptcy fees.

Installment Payments and Waiver Possibilities

These fees are typically due when you file your bankruptcy petition, but you may be able to ask the court to allow you to pay the fees in installments or ask that the fee be waived. To qualify for a fee waiver, you must not be able to afford the fees, even in installments and your income must be less than 150% of the poverty line.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services publishes federal poverty levels, which vary depending in the number of people per household.

Required Credit Counseling Costs

Before you can file bankruptcy, you must take a court-approved credit counseling session.

In addition, you’ll have to take a financial management course before your bankruptcy can be dismissed. These courses usually come with a small fee from the provider. Course costs are typically less than $100. The U.S. Department of Justice website has a list of agencies approved in each state. Visit their websites to find the cost of their bankruptcy-required courses.

 

Attorney Fees

If you’ve hired an attorney to help you file bankruptcy, you’ll also have to pay attorney’s fees. Attorney fees vary widely depending on the state, the attorney, and the complexity of your bankruptcy case. Expect the attorney’s fees to range from a several hundred to several thousand dollars.

Don’t let the potential cost of filing bankruptcy scare you away from the option. Many attorneys offer free or discounted consultations to help you figure out whether you need to file bankruptcy and to estimate the total cost of filling bankruptcy if you need to file. You can at least meet with a few attorneys who offer free consultations to see what your options are. You may be able to pay your attorney in installments, but be aware that the attorneys may only spend as much time on your case as you’ve paid for. Once your retainer runs out, you’ll need to make another payment to continue work on your case.