In every consumer bankruptcy case there are three categories of fees: (1) attorney fees; (2) bankruptcy filing fees; and (3) credit counseling fees. The attorney fees are negotiated between yourself and your attorney. Attorney fees are generally paid up-front in Chapter 7 cases. In Chapter 13 cases, your attorney may require a partial payment of the attorney fees before filing your case. Attorneys may elect to be paid the remaining amount in equal monthly installments through the Chapter 13 plan.
Bankruptcy filing fees are the same throughout the country. For a Chapter 7, the filing fee is $299. For a Chapter 13, the filing fee is $274. Typically the filing fee is paid at the time of filing, although there are exceptions to this rule. In some cases the filing fee may be paid in installments, and the filing fee may be waived altogether for extremely poor debtors. Bankruptcy filing fees are the same whether a debtor files a single or joint husband and wife bankruptcy.
The Bankruptcy Code requires each consumer debtor to receive credit counseling from a nonprofit budget and credit counseling agency approved by the United States Trustee within 180 days of filing a bankruptcy. This counseling fee is around $50.00 per household and is available in-person, by telephone, or over the internet.
The Bankruptcy Code also requires that the debtor complete an "instructional course concerning personal financial management." This class is also available in-person, by telephone, or over the internet for a fee around $35.00 per filer.
If you are in need of debt relief, but are afraid that you cannot afford the legal fees, schedule a free consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney and discuss your financial situation. The bankruptcy process is surprisingly affordable and there are strategies that your attorney can employ to make the process more affordable for your budget.