How much does it cost to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
Discover how much filing bankruptcy may cost. Learn about the various expenses associated with this legal process.
The cost of filing bankruptcy often is a sticking point for people. They are already having financial troubles, so they may not have the extra money to pay for the process. Fortunately, the government and others involved understand the situation. The overall expense for filing may not be as high as people assume.
Direct costs with the court
The United States Bankruptcy Court Southern District of Florida explains the basic fee to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is $338. Filers may pay this via money order, cashier’s check, debit card or bank account withdrawal. It is due at the time individuals give their paperwork to the court.
If a person needs to make amendments to his or her case, there is an additional fee of $32. There is no cost to convert the case to a different chapter if that becomes necessary.
The filing fee is only a portion of the overall cost of filing for bankruptcy. Credit Karma explains to file for bankruptcy, every person must complete credit counseling. The law requires two separate courses, one prior to or immediately after filing, and another before the discharge of debts. The fees may vary from company to company because private businesses offer these required courses, but in general, each will cost around $50. For those struggling financially, the court may issue a waiver, making the courses free.
Another cost associated with filing bankruptcy is hiring an attorney. While a person can file bankruptcy pro se (without an attorney), the bankruptcy court and government recommend having one.
Filing for bankruptcy has a complex set of rules, forms, statutes, and judicial decisions. Some people choose to represent themselves because they think they cannot afford to hire a bankruptcy attorney, or they may think they have a simple case. Whatever the reasoning, it is not a wise decision.
The cost of hiring an attorney can vary widely. Each bankruptcy lawyer sets his or her own fees. These may vary based on how much work the attorney must do on your case, your location, and other factors.
There is no average cost, but prices for securing an attorney may range from as low as $500 to $3,500 or more. This is an expense you must pay in full prior to filing. In addition, individuals must use a firm in their area because the system assigns bankruptcy courts by region. For the Miami, Florida area, only attorneys working in this general location will take on cases for people who live here.
Anyone considering bankruptcy should consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Our Miami bankruptcy attorneys have experience with the process and can help people identify their assets, debts, and exemptions so you can choose the type of bankruptcy that suits your circumstances. It costs you nothing to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced Miami bankruptcy lawyers to discuss how Florida bankruptcy laws can help you.