What Fees Do I Have to Pay When Filing Bankruptcy?



So you’ve decided to file bankruptcy, and the first question that pops into your head is what fees do I have to pay when filing bankruptcy. Our experts at ZocLaw.com provide a comprehensive analysis of bankruptcy filing fees.

How Much Are Court Fees to File Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy filing Court fees and attorney fees are different. The US Bankruptcy Court charges fees in order to pay for the administrative costs they incur when your case is filed.

Firstly there is a fee to file the case, the amount of which depends on the chapter under which you are filing bankruptcy. The filing fee for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is currently $335, while the filing fee for Chapter 13 is $310. Generally you will have to apply to court to allow an installment payment plan for payment of the filing fee.

Other bankruptcy filing fees include:

  • A fee to add creditors after filing- $30
  • A fee to convert your case from one chapter to another- $25
  • A fee to reopen your case- Chapter 7: $245 and Chapter 13: $235

Apart from the filing fee, the majority of the fees can be avoided by diligence. If you ensure that all of your creditors are listed, that you attend your 341 court date, and complete you mandatory financial management class, it is unlikely that you will have extra court fees to pay as the aforementioned three mistakes account for most extra court fees.

How Much Are Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Filing Attorney Fees?

This depends on where you live and the complexity of your case. Usually the costs for a simple case is between $1,000 to $2,000. A simple case are cases where a person filing only has one source of income and very few assets.

With respect to more complicated cases, for example where a person owns several properties or a business, the costs usually increase.

All the attorney fees in Chapter 7 are paid directly to the attorney. Most attorneys will permit you to pay their fee with a payment plan. When you make your first payment, or “retainer”, the attorney will usually open your file and provide you with certain services, such as assistance with creditor harassment issues. However, generally your case will not be filed until the full attorney fee is paid up front.

How Much Are Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Filing Attorney Fees?

These fees also vary but more with respect to your location rather than the complexity of your case. The reason for this is that each jurisdiction has a set “no look” fee that their courts have approved. These fees vary greatly across the country from $2,200 to $5,500 depending on the jurisdiction. However, if a case is particularly complicated, an attorney may justify to the court that the circumstances of the case warrant the charging of a fee higher than that of the “no look” fee. Generally majority of attorneys’ use the standard fee for that jurisdiction.

In Chapter 13, attorneys will usually ask for payment of a portion of their fees upfront and permit the remainder to be incorporated into the Chapter 13 payment plan. Some attorneys may permit the full amount of their fees to be incorporated into the payment plan. This means that the attorney will receive the remainder of their fees through monthly payments you make to the Trustee.

This will give you a chance to focus on making one payment per month as opposed to having two separate payment plans.

How Much Are The Miscellaneous Bankruptcy Filing Fees?

Apart from court fees and attorney fees you may have to incur further costs to have your case filed. One of these fees are for credit counseling briefing which you are obliged to receive in order to qualify to file a bankruptcy.There is a number of credit counseling companies, but the fee is generally in the region of between $30 to $50.

Another fee may be a fee to pull a credit report. It may be wise, to pull a credit report before filing bankruptcy, even if you have all your bills to ensure that all your creditors are listed on your petition. Generally credit reports are about $50.

In the event that you own real estate, you may also be required to get property comparables or in some circumstances an appraisal. While property comparables are usually cheap, appraisals can be rather expensive (up to $500). Ensure that you ask your attorney if any of these miscellaneous fees are applicable to your case so you are prepared.

Ultimately financial freedom is your end goal, so while bankruptcy filing fees may seem steep, once the fees are paid you can be sure that you will be on your way to financial freedom. Most of the costs may be paid through payment plans, thus you may pay if off a little at a time. What may be most important however, is to instruct a good attorney who will take you through the bankruptcy process with ease.