Filing bankruptcy is the debt relief option for debtors who are struggling with debt, but bankruptcy filings have their costs. Since you’re already tight on money when you file for bankruptcy, it’s important to have an estimate of how much you’ll need to pay in the two types of bankruptcy, which are Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing. Read on to learn about the average costs of filing for Chapter 7 or liquidation bankruptcies and Chapter 13 or wage earner’s plan.

What You’ll Pay For Chapter 7 Chapter 13
Filing Fees $335 $310
Administrative Charge $75 $75
Trustee Charge $15 $15
Conversion Fees $10 Free
Mandatory Courses $20 to $100 $20 to $100
Case Reopening $245 $235
Attorney Fees $1,250 $3,000
TOTAL COST PRO SE $700 to $780 $655 to $735
TOTAL COST WITH ATTORNEY $1,950 to $2,030 $3,655 to $3,735

Filing Costs

bankruptcy filing costsThe first cost you’ll encounter when you file your bankruptcy petition is the filing costs. You’ll need to pay the fixed filing fee for which type of bankruptcy you’re filing, plus the administrative and trustee surcharges. On average, filing bankruptcy costs around $400, not including additional charges for converting from a Chapter 13 to Chapter 7, or for reopening prior bankruptcy cases. You may also hire a bankruptcy petition preparer or seek legal-aid from a local bankruptcy lawyer in preparing your bankruptcy forms.

If you’re unable to pay for the filing cost when you submit your bankruptcy petition, you can file an application to pay the filing fee in installments. You’ll need to propose a payment schedule for the entire fee, and it shouldn’t exceed more than four payments, with the final one being made not later than four months after filing the petition.

Generally, Chapter 13 petitioners aren’t qualified to apply for a fee waiver or pay in installments. This is because, in Chapter 13 bankruptcies, reorganization of debts allow debtors to come up with a repayment plan to pay off their secured debt and priority unsecured debt owed. As such, Chapter 13 debtors don’t need to apply for waivers or installments.

Mandatory Courses

Whether you’re filing for bankruptcy Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you’ll need to complete pre-filing and post-filing courses. You’re required to attend a credit counseling course from an approved credit counseling agency before you file for bankruptcy because you’ll need to file the certificate of completion along with your bankruptcy petition.

After that, you’ll have to complete a debtor education course and file the completion certificate to receive your bankruptcy discharge. These financial management courses will cost you anywhere between $20 and $100 depending on the provider or agency you choose. 

Other Bankruptcy Costs

It’s possible to encounter additional costs in your bankruptcy case throughout the bankruptcy process. For example, the bankruptcy trustee assigned to your case may not agree with some of the assets or property you claimed to be exempt in your petition for bankruptcy. To settle this dispute, you need to prepare a defense, appear in bankruptcy court, and resolve the matter in front of a bankruptcy judge, which ends up costing you in additional legal fees.

It’s unlikely for a case of bankruptcy to go to court for anything other than your bankruptcy hearing, especially if your bankruptcy forms and petition was prepared accurately with legal help from experienced bankruptcy attorneys.

Filing With and Without an Attorney

While bankruptcy law allows debtors to file for bankruptcy pro se or without the help of an attorney, you should file for bankruptcy with the help of bankruptcy lawyers. Those who filed for bankruptcy Chapter 7 have a success rate of 95% when the petitioner goes through the bankruptcy process with legal assistance from a reliable bankruptcy law firm. Likewise, the success rate of Chapter 13 filings are much higher when done with an attorney than when filing pro se. The advice of an attorney in bankruptcy proceedings is invaluable so that you do not miss out on any steps or paperwork which may lead to a dismissal if not accomplished properly.

If you’re considering bankruptcy for debt relief, it’s worth it to hire a competent bankruptcy attorney who will assist you through the bankruptcy process or whatever issues that may arise. At Northwest Debt Relief Law Firm, we’ll provide you with bankruptcy information and help you get back on the road to a financial fresh start. Schedule a free legal consultation with us and learn about our zero down plan for bankruptcy!