The cost of filing for bankruptcy

New Jersey residents and others who are thinking about filing for bankruptcy should know that it can cost up to $4,000 or more to do so. Filing fees and attorney fees represent the bulk of that cost, and individuals will also likely need to pay for credit counseling and debtor education courses. Individuals who are filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy will pay a $335 filing fee while those who are filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy will pay $310.

Those who wish to switch from a Chapter 13 proceeding to a Chapter 7 proceeding will need to pay $25. In a liquidation proceeding, the filing fee may be waived or paid in installments. However, the fee must be paid upfront for those who are filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection. Attorneys usually charge at least $1,000 to represent debtors in Chapter 7 proceedings, and they can charge up to $3,500 or more in a Chapter 13 case.

The exact amount that an attorney will charge depends largely on how complicated the case is. While it may be tempting to skip hiring legal counsel, it could significantly reduce a person's chances of obtaining a favorable outcome in his or her case. The fee for the credit counseling and debtor education courses range from $20 to $50, and it may be possible to have those fees waived.

Filing for bankruptcy may make it possible to stop creditor harassment or make it easier to keep property. Generally speaking, those who file are entitled to an automatic stay of creditor collection activities. This may allow them to renegotiate the terms of a secured loan or sell an asset before it is repossessed. An attorney may be able to help an individual learn more about bankruptcy and the benefits it could provide.

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