How Much Does Bankruptcy Cost?

how much does bankruptcy cost?

Costs of Bankruptcy in AZ

Need to find out how much it costs to file for bankruptcy?

You have the right to seek federal bankruptcy relief from your debts, but there are fees and costs involved. To make an informed decision about federal debt relief, you need to understand the costs associated with each of the consumer bankruptcies the Pew Law Center, PLLC, bankruptcy attorneys handle – that is, Chapter 7, Chapter 13, and Chapter 11.

Bankruptcy Court Filing Fees

When your petition is filed with the bankruptcy court clerk, your filing fee must be included. Filing of the petition initiates the case and immediately invokes the court’s protection. That protection extends over the bankruptcy debtor and over the property of the “bankruptcy estate.”

  • Chapter 7 Liquidation. The court’s filing fee is $306 when you file singly or file jointly with your spouse.
  • Chapter 13 Individual Debt Adjustment. The court’s filing fee is $81 when you file singly or file jointly with your spouse.
  • Chapter 11 Reorganization. The court’s filing fee is $1,046 when you file singly or file jointly with your spouse.

Paying the Filing Fee in Installments

An individual debtor who files for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, Chapter 13, and Chapter 11, may apply to the court for permission to pay the filing fee in installments. Generally, experienced bankruptcy attorneys, Phoenix, AZ, know that when the individual filer wants to pay the filing fee in installments, at least $50 must be paid when the petition is filed (although the court may order otherwise). The final installment payment must be made within four months (120 days) of filing the petition.

In some instances, when the debtor has shown that there is good cause, the court may allow the debtor six months (180 days) to pay off the full filing fee. If the filing fee is not paid in full within the required period, Pew Law Center bankruptcy attorneys (Phoenix, AZ) fully expect the case to be dismissed without further notice – the debtor will have to start the bankruptcy process over. At our law firm, we’ve seen this happen often when people try to save a few dollars by filing pro se without attorney representation.

Our bankruptcy attorneys, Phoenix, AZ, believe the very best strategy is to pay the filing fee in full at the time the petition for bankruptcy is filed. The benefit of scheduling smaller more manageable payments does not outweigh the risk associated with a missed installment and subsequent dismissal.

Court Filing Fee Waivers in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Another well known practice among bankruptcy attorneys, Phoenix, AZ, debtors may qualify for a bankruptcy fee waiver. This is reserved for those individuals who can neither afford to pay the filing fee with the petition nor afford to pay the filing fee in installments. The court may waive the filing fee, but only if both of the following circumstances exist:

  • The debtor’ annual income is less than 150% of the official poverty guidelines for his or her family size.
  • The debtor is unable to pay the filing fee in installments. 

Debtors Attend Courses

The Pew Law Center’s bankruptcy attorneys (Phoenix, AZ) explain to all potential clients that there are two courses that each debtor must complete. Don’t worry about time constraints, the courses are brief and won’t take up much of your day. (You might even be able to complete them during your lunch hour!) Both of these mandatory courses are administered by U.S. Trustee-approved non-profit providers. Be careful to enroll only in an approved bankruptcy course!

Bankruptcy Course One:  Debtor Credit Counseling

The first course is a credit counseling session that must be completed before the petition is even filed. The credit counseling course will be scheduled through your bankruptcy attorneys. Phoenix, AZ, spouses who file jointly must take the counseling course individually. A certificate of completion is issued (one to each spouse) by the course provider at the end of the session. Certificates of completion are expected to be filed with the bankruptcy petition.

The course fee is about $50 per person for a telephonic counseling session, and about $30 per person for an online counseling session. In addition to the lower cost, the online session may be completed in the comfort of your home, your office, or even from the local public library. For some low income individuals, a fee waiver may be available as well.

The purpose of the credit counseling session is to:

  • Determine your net income and expenses.
  • Present a possible method of balancing your budget.
  • Develop a personal plan to help you increase your income and reduce your debt.
  • Provide you with information about state and federal resources that provide assistance.
  • Provide strategies to help you manage your money.
  • Provide ways to better deal with your debts.

Bankruptcy Course Two:  Debtor Financial Education Course

The second session is taken after the bankruptcy petition is filed and is known as a financial education course. After you’ve finish this course, your certificate of completion is also filed with the court by your bankruptcy attorneys, Phoenix, AZ.

If you and your spouse file jointly, then you must each take the course independently. As with the pre-bankruptcy course, low income individuals may qualify for a fee waiver. More often than not the courses are “attended” either telephonically or online with a computer, although in some areas in-person classes may be scheduled if there is sufficient demand for them. Take the advice of the Pew Law Center’s bankruptcy lawyers – Phoenix, AZ, scheduling for attendance at a location in the Valley can be very difficult and often causes unnecessary delays. Knowing this, we recommend the ease of online and telephonic sessions to clients whenever possible, they save both time and frustration. The fee for this class is about $50 per person by phone or in-person, and about $30 for the online session.

The purpose of this financial education course is to:

  • Help the bankruptcy debtor develop a budget that addresses reasonable financial goals.
  • To explain basic money management concepts.
  • To cover the ins and outs of credit and how to use credit wisely.
  • To discuss consumer protection laws and available resources.

If you need information about these mandatory bankruptcy courses, contact the bankruptcy lawyers — Phoenix, AZ’s own Pew Law Center. Lawrence ‘D’ Pew will explain what the courses cover and your obligation to participate. We’ll also give you a list of approved course providers and assist you with scheduling.

Arizona Bankruptcy Attorneys: Lawyer Fees

Chapter 7:  Liquidation BankruptcyAt the Pew Law Center, our attorneys’ fees for Chapter 7 liquidation are flat rate.

With a Chapter 7 case, all of the attorneys’ fees must be paid in advance of filing the petition. By filing for relief from creditors under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, the debtor is seeking a discharge of all debts. If your bankruptcy attorneys (Phoenix, AZ) are not paid in full prior to filing the petition, then the attorneys become creditors and must be listed, too. The attorney’s fees would be discharged along with the debts owed to other unsecured creditors. No attorney can sustain that kind of business model!

We do understand that setting aside enough money to pay your attorneys’ fees, court filing fees, and bankruptcy course fees can be a real challenge given your current financial circumstances. With that in mind, the Pew Law Center’s bankruptcy attorneys – Phoenix, AZ, offices – accepts partial payments and, when you’ve paid the filing fee and attorneys’ fees in full, we will move ahead with filing and initiating your bankruptcy case.

Chapter 13: Individual Debt Adjustment BankruptcyOur attorneys’ fees for Chapter 13 are flat rate. Issues that involve child support arrearages, spousal support arrearages, unpaid taxes, contested creditor issues, and complex business issues may increase your bankruptcy attorneys’ Phoenix, AZ, fees. If your debts exceed the Chapter 13 maximum allowed, then filing a Chapter 11 may be necessary.

Chapter 11: Reorganization BankruptcyOur attorneys’ fees for Chapter 11 are flat rate. Complex business interests and the number of contested creditor issues involved can further complicate the case. As with a Chapter 13, a detailed plan must be prepared and submitted to the court.

Free Consultation with Pew Law Center’s Bankruptcy Attorneys in AZ

When you meet with the Pew Law Center, PLLC – bankruptcy attorneys, Phoenix, AZ – we will specify and explain the fees and costs involved. There will be no hidden or surprise fees! You will know exactly what to expect, so you can make an informed decision among the bankruptcy options legally available to you.

We understand that you may have difficulty paying for the entire bankruptcy at once, so we offer very reasonable, manageable payment plans as part of our pre-bankruptcy planning service. Once you are paid in full, we can move forward swiftly and efficiently with your bankruptcy filing.

Contact Us for Debt Relief Advice and Advocacy

To learn how we can help you take back your financial future, contact the Pew Law Center’s bankruptcy attorneys (Phoenix, AZ) to schedule your FREE VIP Bankruptcy Consultation. To speak with a member of our legal team today, simply call us at 480-745-1770. We look forward to hearing from you, and to helping you through this tough time in your life.