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How Much Does It Cost to File for Bankruptcy?

If you’re thinking of filing for bankruptcy, there are many factors to consider. One of those is how much it’s going to cost to file for bankruptcy. Since you are already having financial troubles, the cost of bankruptcy can weigh heavily on your mind. That’s why knowing how much it’s going to cost before you go through the process is so important.

The type of bankruptcy you’re going to file is going to determine the cost as well as several other factors. We’re going to take a look at how much it costs to file for bankruptcy in Florida as well as what may increase the amount.

Average Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Fees

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common form of bankruptcy that is filed because it is the easiest to file. These are the bankruptcy filing fees as of this writing:

  • Chapter 7 filing fee: $245
  • Administrative fee: $78
  • Trustee surcharge: $15
  • Total cost: $338

If you are planning to reopen a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, there is a fee of $260.

The above costs only cover the filing fee and not the cost of hiring a bankruptcy attorney. When you’re looking at how much does it cost to file for bankruptcy, it’s important to keep this in mind as well.

Attorney fees are going to be different depending on where you live and the details of your case. The more time your case takes to resolve, the more you can expect to pay. 

On average, attorney fees for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can range from $1,000 to $1,800. Again, this is only an estimate since everyone’s case is going to be different.

Average Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Fees

When it comes to Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the fee structure is a bit different.

  • Total Filing fee: $313

The cost to reopen a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing is $310.

Attorney fees for Chapter 13 bankruptcy are typically higher than those for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This is due to the additional work involved. The bankruptcy court governs Chapter 13 fees so they can vary greatly from district to district.  Attorneys seeking to charge in excess of the court guidelines are required to obtain court permission.

No matter whether you’re filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must also pay for credit counseling. This typically costs $50. Anyone who files for either type of bankruptcy must complete two credit counseling courses. Contact a non-profit credit counseling agency to schedule your course.

Are There Factors that Can Increase the Amount of the Fees?

Besides the filing and attorney fees, there are other factors that may increase how much it costs to file for bankruptcy. If any of the following pertain to your case you’ll want to see how they may impact how much it’s going to cost you to file for bankruptcy:

  • You have numerous assets
  • You are non-exempt
  • You have more than one income source
  • There are many creditors involved
  • You’ve filed for bankruptcy in the past 8 years
  • You are filing for business bankruptcy as well as personal bankruptcy
  • You have non-dischargeable debts like student loans, child support, alimony, or past-due taxes

Your bankruptcy attorney will let you know how much your case is going to cost before beginning the process. This way you can budget for the costs and determine how you’re going to pay for your case.

Cost-Effectiveness of Working with a Bankruptcy Lawyer

While it may seem too expensive to hire a bankruptcy lawyer and you may consider doing the work yourself, having an attorney can save you significant costs in the long run.

The benefits of having an attorney include:

  • Having an experienced legal counselor help you make informed choices about your financial future;
  • Making the bankruptcy process simple and more streamlined so it can be completed quickly and correctly;
  • Ensure all paperwork is completed properly and necessary documentation is preparared;
  • Advocating for you against your creditors and attending court appearances with you or, after the intial appearance, in place of you.

Most of all, your bankruptcy attorney will ensure that you will keep as many of your assets as possible if you’re filing for Chapter 7. If you are filing for Chapter 13, they will ensure that your payments are minimized to an affordable rate and as much of your debt can be discharged as possible.

How to Pay for Your Bankruptcy Case

Once you have an accurate estimate of how much your bankruptcy case is going to cost, you need to have a plan on how you’re going to pay it. While you may try to file on your own to save money, this may cost you more in the end if it is not done correctly. This is why hiring a bankruptcy attorney is often the best way to go. You can feel confident that all of the paperwork is being done correctly and you can ask questions as you go along.

You can ask your attorney whether you can set up a payment plan or how they would like payments. Some people borrow money from family or friends to cover the cost.

When it comes to the filing fee, you can apply for a fee waiver. To be eligible, your income must fall below 150% of the poverty line for your state and household size. If your request is denied, the bankruptcy court will typically give you a chance to pay the filing fee in a payment plan.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Bankruptcy Attorney in Florida

If you would like to learn more about filing for bankruptcy or find out if it’s right for you, we can help. At Stiberman Law, we understand that filing for bankruptcy is not only overwhelming, but it can also be an added expense during a time when you are already struggling. We work to keep your costs as low as possible, and provide a payment plan to ease some of the burdens. To learn more about filing for bankruptcy and the costs you can expect, schedule a free consultation with Stiberman Law today by calling (954) 922-2283 or filling out the form below to get started.

Written By:

Attorney Robert Stiberman

Robert is an experienced bankruptcy attorney with more than 13 years of experience in consumer Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases. Robert regularly practices in the Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach Divisions of th... Read More

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