How Much Does It Cost To File Bankruptcy?
There are two main chapters of bankruptcy that people file under, chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy. The fees for bankruptcy vary depending on the kind of bankruptcy case that you file. So let’s take each kind of bankruptcy and address the fees separately.
How Much Does It Cost To File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy fees will usually be composed of 2 to 3 different parts, the attorney’s fee, the court filing fee and maybe an additional fee for a credit report.
The court filing fee for a chapter 7 bankruptcy is set by the bankruptcy court and is currently at $338. All law firms will have the same fee for the court filing fee since it is set by the bankruptcy court.
A credit report fee can be itemized separate or sometimes it is a part of the attorney fee. Typically, a bankruptcy law firm will charge you $50 to $100 per person for a credit report.
The attorney’s fee is the portion of your fee that your attorney receives for their service. The attorney’s fee will vary widely depending on the attorney you decide to use. Currently, attorney’s fees for a typical chapter 7 bankruptcy case can range from $800 to $4,000. The most common attorney’s fees for chapter 7 bankruptcy is between $1,500.00 to $2,000.00. A more complicated or riskier chapter 7 bankruptcy case will usually result in a higher attorney’s fee quote.
The total fee is the fee you get when you add up all of the fees (attorney’s fee, filing fee and credit report fee) together. If you add up all of fees, that will give you an average range of $1,850 to $2,400.00 for a typical chapter 7 bankruptcy case. If you have been given a quote around that range, you probably have a good quote.
Our attorney’s fees for chapter 7 bankruptcy start at $925 and go up from there depending upon the complexity of each case. For us, complexity means the likelihood of more work than a baseline chapter 7 case. The more additional work your case will require, the higher your fees will be. Our attorney’s fees range from $925 to $1,300. The total fee (attorneys fee + filing fee + credit report fee) will be between $1,300 to $1,700 for a typical chapter 7 bankruptcy case. Our fees are about $300 to $900 less than most other bankruptcy law firm. One of our clients had been quoted in excess of $3,000 more than what he had paid us and his case was successful and discharged without issue. So sometimes it pays to shop around.
Now what does it mean to pay a lower fee? Many people will believe that if you pay a lower fee for bankruptcy, you are engaging with a lower level of service. Some times that is true. There are some attorney’s who offer very low fees that you have be wary of. However, the same can be said of attorneys who charge $2,000 and above for chapter 7 bankruptcy as well. The most important aspect of choosing the right attorney is that you want to pick a bankruptcy lawyer that is experienced in bankruptcy. You want to make sure that bankruptcy is what the lawyer is dedicated to professionally. You usually do not want to file bankruptcy with a lawyer that just does a few cases here and there when they present themselves. Another important factor in choosing an attorney is that you want to make sure that they are responsive to your questions during your bankruptcy case. At MacLean Chung Law Firm, we set out several times a week where the bankruptcy attorney simply talks to current clients about their questions. We don’t avoid our clients like other bankruptcy law firms.
How Much Does It Cost to File Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 13 bankruptcy fees work differently than chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, there are attorneys fees, court filing fee and credit report fees with Chapter 13 bankruptcy as well.
The current court filing fee for chapter 13 bankruptcy is $313. And just as with chapter 7 bankruptcy there is a credit report fee between $50 to $100 per credit report. The attorney’s fees will be set at $5,000 or $6,000 for 99% of all chapter 13 bankruptcy cases.
The reason that attorney’s fees for chapter 13 bankruptcy are set is because the fees are limited by the bankruptcy court and nearly all bankruptcy lawyers charge up to that amount. However, the fees are broken into the portion that is paid before you file and a portion that is paid by the chapter 13 trustee after your chapter 13 plan is confirmed by the court from your monthly payments over the 3 or 5 year term of your chapter 13 plan.
As a result of the uniformity of Chapter 13 fees, the difference comes in the amount of fees required upfront v. paid through the plan. In most cases, it is beneficial to pay most of your attorney’s fees through the plan. Meaning that the chapter 13 trustee will pay your attorney over the course of your chapter 13 plan.
The most common upfront fee is between $2,500 to $3,000 with the remaining fees paid through the plan. The upfront fee is used to protect the lawyer in case the client fails to meet their obligations in chapter 13 bankruptcy and their case fails to get confirmed. Our most common upfront fee for chapter 13 bankruptcy is $1,500 with the remainder of the fee paid by the chapter 13 trustee over a period of 3 or 5 years. So typically our upfront fee is about $1,00 to $1,500 less than other bankruptcy law firms.
If you would like to get a quote for a bankruptcy case, please contact us and we’ll schedule you for a free bankruptcy consultation with one of our bankruptcy lawyers.