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How Much Does a Bankruptcy Attorney Cost?

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A 2016 study revealed that the average national average cost for a Chapter 7 case was $1,450 and $3,000 for a Chapter 13. But these averages can shift dramatically based on various factors. Some of these are discussed below.

Bankruptcy Fees

Bankruptcy is not automatically free. Generally, it requires a filing fee. You’ll want to look up the fee schedule for the court where you’re filing for bankruptcy. In Ohio, that’d be the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District or the Southern District of Ohio.

The filing fee depends on your case, like whether you’re filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. The filing fee for Chapter 7 is $338, while the filing fee for Chapter 13 is $313. The fees go up every couple of years.

If you can’t afford the filing fee, you can ask for a waiver or installment plan. If you’re filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can apply for a fee waiver. Your income has to be less than 150% of the official poverty line. If you’re wondering whether you’re eligible for a waiver, look up the most recent HHS poverty guidelines.

For Chapters 7 or 13, you can apply to pay the filing fee in up to four installments. The court can give you up to 120 days from the day you file to pay in full.

Bankruptcy has a few other costs, too. For Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, you have to complete two different credit counseling sessions. Fees for these in-person or online courses can be up to $50.

Bankruptcy Attorney’s Fees

Understandably, people want to spend as little money as possible on the bankruptcy process. Your finances are probably tight – otherwise, you wouldn’t be interested in bankruptcy. But quality bankruptcy attorneys are flexible, and most work on a flat fee basis with various payment plans.

Flat bankruptcy fees offer you a lot of transparency regarding the legal costs related to bankruptcy. In addition, when you work with an attorney who understands the process, paperwork, and deadlines, the flat fee model can save you money. This is because a smooth process cuts down on unnecessary legal costs related to going to bankruptcy court and filing important documents.

Keep in mind that when discussing a flat fee with an attorney, your circumstances and the complexity of your case can affect your rate.

Factors that may influence a bankruptcy attorney’s fees:

  • Combined personal and business bankruptcies
  • You have multiple sources of income
  • You earn more than Ohio’s average income for households the same size
  • You have a large number of creditors
  • You have non-dischargeable debts, such as taxes, child support, criminal fines, or federal student loans
  • A creditor has begun foreclosure, eviction, or repossession proceedings
  • You’ve been accused of fraud or another crime
  • You went through previous bankruptcy in recent years

You might hope to save money by not hiring a bankruptcy lawyer. However, this plan can backfire. Aside from taking on the legal burden by handling the process for you, attorneys can protect any money assets you anticipate receiving, like a tax return, life insurance proceeds, or an inheritance. They can also help negotiate down debts. In some cases, creditors may accept pennies on the dollar.

Read to Learn More About Bankruptcy Fees in Ohio?

Don’t let the fees attached to a bankruptcy deter you. There are ways to factor in these costs and discharge or reorganize your debts. The best way to find an option that works for you is to speak with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer.

If you’re in Ohio and ready to talk about bankruptcy with an attorney, call Luftman, Heck & Associates at (216) 586-6600 or email advice@clevelandbankruptcyattorney.com. We want to help you get out of debt and move on with life.