How Much Does it Cost to File for Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy Attorney Tampa

A frequent question any prospective bankruptcy client asks is how much it costs to file for bankruptcy. The answer, as with almost everything else in life, is that it depends. The costs for each individual case vary depending on the type of bankruptcy case filed, whether the case is for an individual, married couple or business, and whether there is are other more complex collateral matters that must be litigated or heard in court.
Court Fees
All debtors must pay court filing fees for their case. In a Chapter 7 case – regardless of whether the case is for an individual or married couple – the court fee is $335. This fee is the sum of a $245 filing fee, a $75 administrative fee, and a $15 bankruptcy trustee fee. For Chapter 13 cases, the fee is $310 – which is the sum of a $235 filing fee and a $75 filing fee. In Chapter 11 cases, the fee is $1,717 – which is the sum of a $1,167 filing fee and a $550 filing fee.
Naturally, there may other fees charged through the life of a case. For example, if a debtor forgets to include a creditor in the original bankruptcy petition and later needs to file an amendment adding that creditor, the amendment filing fee is $30. Similarly motions, case conversions from one type of bankruptcy case to another, appeals, and the filing of lawsuits with a bankruptcy case all have different fees.
Attorney Fees
Attorney fees vary significantly by type of case. Chapter 7 cases attorney fees can range from $500 – $1,800 depending on the complexity of a case. For example, it is normal for an attorney to charge more for joint bankruptcy petitions for married couples than for individuals.
Because Chapter 13 cases last a lot longer than Chapter 7 cases – Chapter 7 cases lasts about 6 months while Chapter 13 cases last anywhere from 3 to 5 years – it is normal for Chapter 13 attorney fees to be a lot higher than Chapter 7 attorney fees. Normal Chapter 13 attorney fees range anywhere from $3,500 to $4,500. However, unlike Chapter 7 cases where the fees are in paid in full prior to filing, Chapter 13 part of the attorney fees can be paid through the life of the Chapter 13 case as part of the Chapter 13 repayment plan. At present, it is normal for many attorneys to ask for as little as $500 before filing, with the balance paid through the life of the bankruptcy plan.
Bankruptcy Courses Cost
The Bankruptcy Code was amended in 2005. As part of those amendments, individual debtors in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases were required to take two courses: a pre-filing credit counseling course and a post-filing financial management course. If a debtor fails to take the credit counseling course, their case can be dismissed. Similarly, the court will not enter an order wiping out some of the debtor’s debts unless they complete the financial management course. The costs of these courses ranges from $20 – $30 per course.
Bottom line: The cost of a bankruptcy case depends on the type of bankruptcy case filed and its complexity. For a free case evaluation, feel free to give our office a call.
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