Inflation, job losses and high rents have left a lot of people feeling the pinch on their wallets – and bankruptcies are once again becoming commonplace. According to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, total consumer bankruptcy filings were up more than 38,000 between the year ending in June 2023 and the prior year.
When your debts are overwhelming and you’re already stretched as financially thin as possible, how on earth do you pay for the fees associated with a bankruptcy filing?
First, understand what fees you have to pay
No matter where you live, the fees to file for a bankruptcy petition are set by law:
- $338 for a Chapter 7
- $313 for a Chapter 13
You also need to pay for credit counseling and a debt education course, and the costs are typically between $50 and $100. The rest of the cost is wrapped up in attorney fees. Depending on the complexity of your case, Chapter 7 can run between $838-$3,838, while Chapter 13 can range between $1,813-$6,313.
Second, look carefully at your options
Many times, you can work out a payment plan that allows you to slowly pay the legal fees over time. You may be able to split the cost over three-six months (or even longer) before your petition is filed. To facilitate this:
- Look at ways you can raise extra money. Close friends or family members may be willing to give you the cash you need, or you may be able to raise the money by selling off an asset or two that you don’t need.
- Look at expenses you can cut out. If you’re filing Chapter 7, you can generally expect your unsecured debts to be discharged. Continuing to make payments on credit card bills and unsecured loans once you’ve made your decision doesn’t make a lot of sense. You can route the payment money to your legal bills.
The bankruptcy process can be daunting, but legal guidance can help you understand how to get through it with ease.