How Much Does It Cost to File Chapter 7 in the State of Georgia?
How much does it cost to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy? Numerous factors may apply. Learn more here.
How Much Does It Cost to File Chapter 7?
Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. However, bankruptcy costs may depend on other factors, including court filing fees and bankruptcy attorney fees.
Miscellaneous court costs and filing fees that may need to be considered by bankruptcy filers may range from $300 to $400. If you are filing independently, you will typically pay in that range.
However, working with a bankruptcy attorney could significantly add to these figures. A bankruptcy lawyer will usually charge bankruptcy attorney fees depending on the type of bankruptcy you are filing, the complexity of your financial situation, the city where the attorney practices, and the market rates for a bankruptcy petition.
For many people, coming up with extra money for the bankruptcy process might seem challenging when you have creditors breathing down your neck and you are struggling to cover basic expenses. Still, having a bankruptcy lawyer when you file bankruptcy is critically important. The right bankruptcy lawyer will work with you to ensure that you can file for bankruptcy without further worsening your financial situation.
Bankruptcy Fees and Costs
If you need to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there are several costs and bankruptcy filing fees that you need to take into account. Most people have complex financial circumstances and need to file with an attorney, which will influence the cost. As such, we have set out the costs to expect when you file bankruptcy from the most expensive to the least expensive.
1. Bankruptcy Attorney Fees
While we cannot quote an average attorney fee without assessing your bankruptcy case, we can tell you that this is usually the most expensive cost in a bankruptcy filing. Attorney fees for Chapter 13 consumer bankruptcy are typically lower than Chapter 7 business bankruptcy due to differing complexities.
2. Bankruptcy Court Filing Fee
For self-represented parties not going through an attorney when filing for bankruptcy, you can expect to be charged a flat fee of $335. You may also have to pay between $15 and $20 to the bankruptcy trustee in additional charges.
When filing, part of the bankruptcy cost also includes the filing fee charged by the court.
You should note that all Chapter 7 bankruptcy case filers need to pay the filing fee regardless of the case’s complexity and whether the case is a business, joint, or individual bankruptcy.
Depending on your financial circumstances, you can apply and have the court waive your bankruptcy filing fees. If you do not qualify for waivers, you can request an installment schedule that typically comes with payment plans.
These are usually reserved for low-income individuals that need legal help and cannot afford the filing or legal fees of the bankruptcy process.
3. Credit Counseling Fees
Consumer debtors who file a bankruptcy case must undergo mandatory credit counseling in personal financial management within 180 days of filing their petition.
You can be granted access by telephone, in-person, and online for a credit counseling fee. Still, you will need to work with a company that the United States Trustee Office has granted approval for.
The cost of a credit counseling course is up to the company administering it. Most have the same basic information, and you can find the companies by searching on the list of approved companies. Some companies may waive the course fee if you meet specific income requirements.
4. Credit Report Fees
You will typically be required to list all creditors on the bankruptcy forms. Overall, it is important to continually review all credit reports to ensure that all collection agencies and creditors are included in your bankruptcy forms.
Some bankruptcy attorneys will provide you with free credit reports depending on the complexity of your case.
5. Debtor Education Course
You will have to complete a debtor education course from an approved company following your filing. Most companies provide telephone, in-person, and online courses that cost between $10 and $50. You will typically have to file the certificate of completion with the court, or your bankruptcy petition may be thrown out.
Some companies may provide discounts if you get credit counseling and debtor education fees at the same company. You may also get a discount if your income is below a particular threshold.
6. Miscellaneous Costs
There are other costs that could increase bankruptcy costs and filing fees. For instance, you may have to pay for postage costs and copy costs if you file without an attorney and need to send your creditors the critical documents.
Other expenses may apply, including parking fees and travel expenses heading to and from the bankruptcy court. You may also be required to attend at least one hearing at the bankruptcy court, among other requirements.
The attorneys at Bournakis & Mitchell law firm have the experience and skill to handle a wide range of bankruptcy cases. With a solid understanding of the bankruptcy laws, we may be able to provide legal help for your bankruptcy petition.
If you are looking for a Georgia bankruptcy attorney, contact us today to set up a free initial consultation.
Reasons to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
The two most common types of bankruptcies are Chapter 13 bankruptcy and Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Given how different they are, they often have varying costs.
Some of the reasons why it is preferable to file bankruptcy protection under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy rather than a Chapter 13 include:
- It is less expensive since it is often less complex.
- It eliminates much of unsecured debt (such as medical debt, credit card debt, and personal loans), given that it focuses on liquidation.
- It allows one to start with a clean slate.
The law firm of Bournakis & Mitchell has been assisting bankruptcy filers in Georgia for many years. As such, we know the local rules which we may apply when working on your case. If you intend to file bankruptcy, contact us today, and we may be able to help you with your bankruptcy filing.
Why You Should File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Over Chapter 13
Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, most of your assets will be liquidated and used to pay off collection agencies and creditors. Once all eligible debts are discharged, you will no longer have to pay anything as long as they are declared in the discharge documents.
On the other hand, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy provides an extended repayment plan. Under plan payments, you will need to agree with your creditors so that you make repayments over three to five years.
One of the best things about Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that it usually eliminates many forms of debt except for ineligible debt such as certain student loans, some taxes, child support, or alimony.
The law firm of Bournakis & Mitchell has attorneys with extensive experience in both Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you need to file for bankruptcy, you should contact us today. Our attorneys in Cartersville, GA, are ready to help clients who need legal advice and help with their filings.
How Much Do You Have to Owe to File Chapter 7?
One of the most common questions about filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is determining if you have enough debt to file a bankruptcy petition. Still, it is critical to note that you need to have no minimum debt threshold to qualify for bankruptcy protection.
You need to take into account your financial circumstances when filing for bankruptcy. State statutes now have a minimum debt amount at which you can file for financial protection.
The decision to not file or file may be dependent on factors including:
- Your financial circumstances
- Ability to repay debt without resorting to the bankruptcy process
- Ability to clear the debt during the process
- Creditors’ desire to continue working with you to clear the debt
Still, it is essential to note that, unlike Chapter 7, Chapter 13 has a debt limit that needs to be considered when one is considering filing. As of 2019, you cannot file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy unless you have unsecured debt of more than $419,275. For secured debts, they should not be greater than $1,257,850.
Since filing can seem like a complicated endeavor, it is critical to work with a bankruptcy attorney in Georgia. The lawyers at Bournakis & Mitchell have been practicing bankruptcy for years and may be able to help you with your filing just as we have helped many clients over the years.
Things You Must Know Before Filing Bankruptcy
If you intend to file for bankruptcy, it is critical to understand the different facets of the process. Some of the essential things to know include:
1. There Are Alternatives to Bankruptcy
You do not have to file for bankruptcy in some instances that include finding additional sources of income, debt settlement, and debt management.
This involves creditors pooling debt and then coming up with a repayment plan that negotiates for a discounted amount sold to creditors. Instead of filing for bankruptcy, individuals may take such an approach and use a credit counselor to develop an appropriate debt management plan.
Debt settlement often involves using third parties in the negotiation for a lower debt amount if you find the current debt level to be beyond your ability to pay. The purpose of debt management is to lower debt to a level you can more easily manage.
2. Estimate Your Costs for Filing Bankruptcy
Before deciding on filing bankruptcy, you need to review your financial circumstances. It is also critical to look into the available options, including legal aid, debt management, and loans.
Once you have all the data, you should consider the costs, including the attorney’s fee, the payment plan, court fees, and any other costs. Note that other factors may impact costs which include:
- Whether you are filing as a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy
- Non-dischargeable debts such as past-due taxes, alimony, child support, and student loans
- Whether you are filing jointly with your spouse or on your own
- Likelihood of accusations of fraud
- Your sources of income
- Non-exempt assets
- Whether you are in the process of stopping legal actions such as foreclosure
- Whether you filed for bankruptcy in the past eight years
- Unusual or numerous assets
- You have a lot of creditors
- Your earnings are higher than the median income household in the state
- Local rules
Since you can be vulnerable to creditors trying to collect, it is essential to work with a bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible.
If you intend to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, contact the law office of Bournakis & Mitchell today. We provide a free bankruptcy evaluation on Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcies. Our Georgia bankruptcy attorney may provide legal advice and the way forward on a bankruptcy filing.