Bankruptcy / Alabama / Cost

How Much It Costs To File Bankruptcy In Alabama In 2022

Written by Ben Tejes
Updated Apr 13th, 2022

The cost to file bankruptcy in Alabama is $338 for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and $313 for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but the answer becomes more nuanced if you decide to file with a bankruptcy attorney and if you are trying to get the filing fees waived.

If you are like me, you probably wonder how you can afford the cost of bankruptcy in Alabama when it’s difficult to pay bills, especially in 2022 as inflation runs rampant. Many bankruptcy costs such as the filing fee and the credit counseling courses are relatively similar. That said, the cost of bankruptcy attorney fees may range dramatically whether you are in Huntsville or Birmingham. 

The purpose of this article is to provide you with estimated all-in costs:

  1. Bankruptcy Attorney Fees
  2. Bankruptcy Filing Costs

Estimate the Bankruptcy Attorney Fees in Your Zip Code

We received the question of how much a bankruptcy costs in Alabama so often that we built a database of attorney fees. Use your zip code below to estimate the cost of bankruptcy in your city in Alabama.

1. Bankruptcy Attorney Fees Alabama

A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is often less expensive than Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys in Alabama can cost between $1170 - $1500. The cost may increase or decrease based on the following factors: Complexity, location, level of attorney connection, and the bankruptcy lawyer's expertise.

Here are some of the ranges of cost in major cities in Alabama.

Attorney Fees in Huntsville

Huntsville is the most populated city in Alabama with a population of 215,006. Bankruptcy attorneys in Huntsville can cost an estimated $1,500.

Attorney Fees in Birmingham

Bankruptcy attorneys in Birmingham can cost an estimated $1,500.

Attorney Fees in Montgomery

Bankruptcy attorneys in Montgomery can cost an estimated $1,400.

2. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney Fees Alabama

Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys in Alabama can cost $3500 - $4500. The fee can depend on the district.

While Chapter 7 attorney fees have variability, many Chapter 13 fees are relatively similar based on no-look fees, a reasonable cost for the service provided. You may still want to see whether the attorney charges an hourly rate for any additional work after filing the Chapter 13

3. Bankruptcy Filing Costs

Bankruptcy filing costs are pretty similar across the United States, not just Alabama. Here are the other costs to consider. 

Bankruptcy Filing Fees

The US Courthouse has a fee schedule and a bankruptcy form that provides the filing fee. 

The Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing fee is $338 ($245 filing fee $78 administrative fee + $15 trustee surcharge).

The Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing fee is $313 ($235 filing fee + $78 administrative fee).

If you cannot afford the filing fee, you may be able to pay the filing fee in installments or it could be waived altogether. For more information, please see the Alabama filing fee information and the information below

Alabama Filing Fee Waiver Guidelines

You may be eligible to have your Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing fees waived if you are below 150% of Alabama poverty guidelines. For example, you can see the guidelines below for cases filed within Alabama in 2022. 

# of People150% Poverty Guideline
1$13,590
2$18,310
3$23,030
4$27,750
5$32,470
6$37,190
7$41,910
8$46,630
9$51,350
* Add $4,720 for each individual in excess of 9.

Mandatory Course Costs

When you file bankruptcy, you have to take an approved credit counseling course in Alabama and a debtor education course. You can often take both courses online. The average cost may is around $10 to $50 per course. Please note that the courses must be approved, so here is the list of approved Alabama credit counseling courses and Alabama debtor education courses that should also have the cost associated with the course. 

Miscellaneous Costs

You may have to pay for transportation to the meeting of creditors at the courthouse. You may also have to pay for a credit report for your attorney (although they may be able to help you with the credit report).

You can estimate the cost of transportation to one of the bankruptcy courts below:

Northern District

  • U.S. Post Office and Courthouse
    400 Well Street
    Decatur, Alabama 35601

Middle District of Alabama

Southern District of Alabama

  • US Bankruptcy Court
    One Church Street
    Montgomery, AL 36104
  • George W. Andrews Federal Building
    701 Avenue A
    Opelika, AL 36801

Will Inflation Affect the Cost To File Bankruptcy in Alabama?

With rising inflation in 2022, a question I’ve heard is whether inflation will affect the cost of bankruptcy. Let’s cover whether inflation may affect the filing fee and the attorney costs in Alabama.

The Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing fee was updated from $335 to $338, and the Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing fee was updated from $310 to $313 effective December 1st, 2020. Based on the very slight change, I would not expect the filing fee to negatively impact you.

You may see some inflation in attorney fee costs as inflation may force bankruptcy attorneys to pay more to employees and face higher costs of living themselves in cities such as Birmingham or Montgomery or across Alabama.

Would My Bankruptcy Cost Be Higher Huntsville Than Montgomery?

You may live in a suburb in Alabama and wonder if you should hire a local attorney or an account in a bigger city like Birmingham to save on bankruptcy costs.

As Huntsville has the highest population in Alabama of 215,006, you may expect that the cost of bankruptcy attorney fees may be higher in Huntsville than Montgomery. 

While the cost may be higher in Huntsville, there also may be more bankruptcy attorneys increasing competition and dropping prices. So, you actually could find that the total cost to file bankruptcy including bankruptcy fees could be actually much higher in your city than in Huntsville. 

One thing to be aware of is that most bankruptcy attorneys offer free bankruptcy consultations, so you can get multiple perspectives. Also, our bankruptcy cost calculator below takes into consideration those variables when providing you with an all-in cost estimate. 

Why Do Some Attorneys Charge Higher Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Fees? 

You may compare prices from two different bankruptcy attorneys in Birmingham, and find attorney costs vary between two attorneys.

The Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys often charge the same amount regardless in Montgomery due to the no-look fee (a normal fee for the services provided). That said, the Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney fee can vary greatly, so it's important to understand what you are getting for the additional cost.

The bankruptcy lawyer cost is often based on the following attributes:

  1. Which type of chapter you are filing (i.e. Chapter 7 vs Chapter 13)
  2. The complexity of your case (i.e. no asset vs asset)
  3. Your location (i.e. Huntsville vs Birmingham
  4. Level of attorney connection
  5. Attorney expertise (i.e. how many years of experience)

For example, let’s say you make $10,000 above the median income for Alabama and still want to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The attorney may then have to spend additional time looking over your expenses to see whether you would qualify for a Chapter 7 even though you are above the median. Additional attorney time generally means a higher overall bankruptcy cost.

If you are interested to learn more, please visit this article: Understanding Bankruptcy Lawyer Fees.

Conclusion

As you can see, the cost to file bankruptcy in Alabama is often based on the city in which you live and the type of bankruptcy that you are filing. The biggest variable that affects all-in bankruptcy cost is the attorney fee, which may range between  $1170 - $1500 for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and $3500 - $4500 for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Hopefully, this article provides helpful information to help you understand the all-in costs to file bankruptcy with a bankruptcy lawyer. Please reach out if you have any questions or take the free Alabama bankruptcy cost calculator below.