Filing for bankruptcy comes with its own set of costs. It may seem counterintuitive that a person who is having difficulty paying his or her bills can pay extra costs to receive relief from his or her financial obligations. However, just because someone is not able to pay his or her bills should not prevent them from hiring an attorney to file their bankruptcy case. While “do it yourself” projects may be a good idea around the house, there are reasons to let a professional handle your bankruptcy filing.
Court Filing Fees
Court filing fees vary depending on the type of case being filed. The filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is $338. This fee is due at the time the bankruptcy petition is filed unless the court grants an exception to the rule. In these situations, if the filer passes the means test, he or she could have the fee either waived or made payable in installments. However, all installment payments must be paid within 120 days after bankruptcy is filed. To qualify for the fee waiver, the filer’s income must fall below 150 percent of the poverty line for Florida, based on household size. If the person’s application for the fee waiver is denied, the bankruptcy court will normally allow the filer to pay in installments.
The filing fee for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is $313. Unlike with Chapter 7 bankruptcy, fee waivers are not available in a Chapter 13 case. Since Chapter 13 cases normally require that the person filing has some sort of disposable income to make payments under the court’s repayment plan, stating that the person is not able to afford $313 for a filing fee would not be viewed as a good faith request.
All bankruptcy filers must take two different educational courses including a credit counseling course prior to filing and a debtor education course that must be completed after filing. Both courses are required for all types of bankruptcy, and while they are both relatively inexpensive, a cost is associated with them. The costs cannot be more than $50 per course unless a special exemption is granted from the U.S. Trustee’s Office.
An experienced bankruptcy attorney can also discuss the pros and cons of proceeding with a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
When filing for bankruptcy, you will have to fill out much more than a standard bankruptcy petition. You will be expected to submit dozens of supporting documentation, listing every single debt, all of your creditors and all of your assets. If you make a mistake or miss something, costly delays can result. Not to mention, you run the risk of losing valuable property and possessions and your case being completely thrown out altogether.
Attorney fees can vary based on the type of case filed and the level of complexity involved. Many attorneys handle Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases on a flat fee basis, which means that they charge a specific amount initially and bill down from that fee paid.
Most bankruptcy attorneys offer free initial consultations to assess your financial situation to determine if bankruptcy is right for you. Our firm offers affordable payment plans and Saturday appointments to accommodate clients.
Since Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases take three to five years involve much more work than a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, which only takes a few months complete, the attorney’s fees will be more for this type of case. Many times, the Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer will require a portion of the fees be paid before filing and will require the filer enter into an attorney fee agreement before filing. The filer then makes a monthly payment under the Chapter 13 repayment plan, and attorney’s fees will be included as part of monthly payment made to the trustee.
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If you have questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade Garcia McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.