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Average Cost for Filing Bankruptcy

If you need the debt relief and protection from creditors that the bankruptcy court offers, you're probably wondering what the average cost for filing bankruptcy is. And it's an important question to consider: it's essential to go into bankruptcy knowing exactly what to expect.

The overall cost of filing bankruptcy depends on a number of factors, including the type of bankruptcy you file and the complexity of your case. However, when evaluating the cost of bankruptcy, it's also important considering the protection and debt relief that bankruptcy is designed to provide.

If you're ready to take the next step in your case, you can arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with a bankruptcy attorney in your area.

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Cost of Filing a Bankruptcy Case

The good news about the fees associated with filing for bankruptcy is that they are regulated at the federal level, and so do not depend on where in the country you live. Here's a look at the amount of money it costs to simply file bankruptcy paperwork with the court as of November 2011.

  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy: Filing for Chapter 7 (which is the type of personal bankruptcy that offers filers a full discharge of their eligible unsecured debts) costs $306.
  • Chapter 11 bankruptcy: This type of bankruptcy, most commonly filed by companies that need to reorganize their debts, costs $1,046.
  • Chapter 13 bankruptcy: At the time of filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy (which is the type of personal bankruptcy that grants filers a period of three to five years to catch up on past-due debts with the help of a repayment plan), filers must pay $281.

Other Costs Associated with Filing for Bankruptcy

So the average cost for filing a bankruptcy petition does not depend on where you live; however, it's important to know about the non-filing costs of bankruptcy when you're determining when and whether to file your case. These include the following.

  • Credit Counseling session: Since the passage of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) in 2005, all bankruptcy filers have had to complete a credit counseling session in order to have their petition accepted by the court. While completing a credit counseling session is generally inexpensive, it is a cost you should factor in to your bankruptcy plans.
  • Debtor Education course: Another mandate that BAPCPA introduced was the pre-discharge debtor education course. This is an educational course that all bankruptcy filers must complete in order to be eligible for a bankruptcy discharge. Like the credit counseling requirement, it shouldn’t be too expensive.
  • Lawyer Fees: While there is no law requiring bankruptcy petitioners to work with an attorney, the U.S. Courts web site strongly recommends enlisting legal counsel for help with the bankruptcy process. One reason for this recommendation is that the legal language of bankruptcy law can be difficult to decipher for someone without a legal background. Another is that missing even one deadline in a bankruptcy case can cause the court to dismiss your case (which would mean you’d lose all the legal protections offered in bankruptcy). Attorneys' fees for your case will likely depend on where you live, what chapter you file, and the overall details of your case.

Speak with a Lawyer Today for Free

If you're not sure whether you can afford to file for bankruptcy, take advantage of this offer for a free consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer to learn more about your case and the average cost for filing bankruptcy where you live.

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