Which bankruptcy chapter is the least expensive? - Bankruptcy Law Questions and Answers- LawQA.com

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Which bankruptcy chapter is the least expensive?

I need to file for bankruptcy, but I don't want to pay too many extra fees. Does each file vary in price or will I have to go with a specific chapter based on my situation?

Ross Smith, Attorney at Law
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You have asked a big question. So I have attached a big answer. You will find that most bankruptcy attorneys in an area charge about the same, give or take $100.00. You will probably want a "flat rate" attorney with experience. Good luck. What We Charge For Bankruptcies The cost of a bankruptcy depends on what type of bankruptcy you choose to file and whether there are any special requirements for your particular situation. You should choose a bankruptcy attorney by their level of experience, skill in communication and the level of service they offer to clients. It usually costs about the same to hire an experienced bankruptcy as it does to hire a general practitioner that only files occasional bankruptcies. Fees vary a great deal from region to region. My practice is restricted to bankruptcy law and financial problems, such as foreclosure, Fair Debt Collections Practices violations, Fair Credit Reporting Practices violations and Chapter 7 and 13 Bankruptcies. I am a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) and I have over 30 years of experience. A Chapter 7 "straight" bankruptcy, which would discharge your debts, has court costs of $299.00 and attorney fees of $900.00 for the 1st person, plus $100.00 added for the spouse, if needed. In rare cases there are additional fees for a special situation such as a business or a redemption. We always quote our fees in writing and our fees are always a flat rate for specific legal services. We do not "low ball" fees and then raise them later. We also offer a special service to all of our clients. We stop creditor phone calls as soon as you retain us. When we are retained, we will have you advise creditors that you are represented by our firm. If a creditor calls you after that notice, we will immediately call that creditor and make them stop calling you. We do this automatically and at no extra charge. We also advise clients on how they can make payments to cover the cost of the bankruptcy and also how they can accumulate the funds to pay fees. Of course, some debts cannot be discharged in bankruptcy and others are only dischargeable under certain circumstances and with special procedures. Certain types of taxes, student loans, alimony and child support are examples of nondischargeable debts. We urge clients to see us even if they have nondischargeable debts. We can help determine if they are really nondischargeable and we can put them into a Chapter 13 Plan, if necessary. Chapter 13 Plans Chapter 13 Plans can be a powerful tool to get yourself protected from the IRS or student loan collectors. Its also useful if you are not eligible for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13 Plan you get the protection of the Bankruptcy Court while you pay off your bills at 0% over a 3 - 5 year period. In some cases, you can pay your creditors much less than 100% of what you owe. The court costs are $274.00 and the attorney fees are $1,300.00 for the first person and $100.00 for the spouse. The monthly or weekly payment to the plan is based upon your income and budget. It takes a payment ofas little as $325.00 to get started on a Chapter 13. On both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies we are happy to make arrangements for the client to pay us over time as we complete our work on the petition. Usually of the Chapter 13 attorney fee, or $650.00 -700.00 is paid through the Chapter 13 Plan after the case is filed. This part of the Chapter 13 fee is really coming from money set aside to pay your creditors. That's a big help. The latest bankruptcy reforms require debtors to get independent counseling before filing a Chapter 7 or a 13. This can be done easily in about one hour on the phone or the internet. The cost of the 2 counseling sessions is $36.00 and $24.00 respectively if you go to the places that I recommend. Your attorney will tell you when and where to get your counseling done. You should beware of non-attorney bankruptcy petition preparers and debt consolidators. You will find that they often take money up front and perform badly, if at all. They are rarely a good value for your money. Also beware of attorneys that quote low initial rates, but raise their fees later. Going into Bankruptcy Court with poor advice can cause you to lose property and money. Fees can be a complicated subject, so Im always happy to talk personally about fees with prospective clients. I'll talk to you at no charge and answer your questions about fees and whatever other things you may have on your mind. Please call to make an appointment to review your financial situation in person at no charge

Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 8/10/2011

Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
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ch 13 is less but i wouldn't base your filing on that

Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/10/2011

Answer By Mengjun Qiu
The Law Offices of Kristy Qiu
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Chapter 7 is cheaper than Chapter 13 because of the difference in attorney's fee. However, depending on your situation, the cheaper of the 2 might not be able to help you. You really should contact an attorney. First consultation is always free anyway. If you make less than $1,300 a month, you might qualify for Legal Aid help.

Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 8/10/2011

Answer By Michael Johnson
Law Office of Michael Johnson
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A chapter 7 is the least expensive, but you need to qualify for a chapter 7 and other chapters may have other benefits. You should contact an attorney to discuss your options.

Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 8/10/2011

Answer By Ethan Myers
Ethan Myers Law Firm PLLC
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A chapter 7 filing fee is just under $300. A chapter 13 filing fee is about $270. However if you make above the median average for the state, without having a lot of justifiable expenses that the average person doesn't have, (Like regular medical expenses) then you may be required to file a chapter 13 instead. A chapter 7 is a liquidation of you assets. it takes all of your non exempt assets, (a home stead is exempt as is up to $30,000 of personal property from various categories found in the property) and sells them to pay off your debts. The debts that remain unpaid after the funds have been distributed are wiped out and you get a fresh start (not including secured creditors who have a lien on property like a mortgage and not including some taxes). In a chapter 13. all disposable income is paid to a trustee for the next 3-5 years until all past debts are paid off-making sure that any unsecured creditors get at least as much as they would have gotten had you filed for chapter 7. In addition to the filing fee for a chapter 13 an (average) 5-10 percent trustee fee is collected by the trustee for every payment made by the debtor, before the proceeds of each payment is paid to crediors. So, while anyone has a right to file for a chapter 13-as long as they have enough disposable income to pay back their debts within 3-5 years, not everyone qualifies for a chapter 7. (those that make a large amount of money). Chapter 13 is often selected by individuals who have a lot of assects that are not exempt and that they don't want to lose. Because as stated above those assets would be sold off in a chapter 7.

Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 8/9/2011

Answer By Marjorie Guymon
Goldsmith & Guymon
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What you pay is largely based upon your circumstance.

Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 8/9/2011

Answer By Kevin Heupel
Heupel Law
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Unfortunately, it depends on your assets, debts, and income as to the chapter you would file along with the fees. We offer free consultations and quote flat fees along with payment plans. Call use to take advantage of this opportunity.

Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 8/9/2011

Answer By Kevin Ryan
Ryan Legal Services, Inc.
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You should first locate an attorney who handles bankruptcy matters full time. Call the attorney or a few attorneys and discuss your case with at least 2-3 of them to get an idea of what they charge. A basic Ch 7 filing should not cost any more than $900-1,200.00 up front assuming the assets are basic household goods, one home, 1-2 vehicles and basic secured and unsecured debt (and maybe a tax claim). Chapter 13 cases are usually more expensive but most attorneys will take a retainer fee up front to cover the initial meeting(s) and drafting of paperwork, together with initial court appearances. The balance of fees can usually be paid inside of the Ch 13 bankruptcy plan ( you make monthly payments to a Trustee on your debts, and the attorney fees are paid over a period of usually 6-12 mos depending on the district, as an administrative/priority expense).

Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 8/2/2011

Grasso Law Group
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There really is no generic answer for determining what bankruptcy chapter to use. You should file under the proper bankruptcy chapter depending on your specific circumstances.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/2/2011

Charles Schneider, P.C.
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You should not be deciding to file any specific chapter of bankruptcy based on price. It should be based on your goals that you want to obtain from bankruptcy and whether you are eligible for the chapter. The price of bankruptcy will differ based on the chapter and also based upon who you are, your income, what you own and want to protect and a lot of other factors that make each case different or harder than others. In other words based on the "situation".

Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/2/2011

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