No law prevents friends and family members from paying bankruptcy attorney fees for someone they know. Therefore, you could pay a bankruptcy attorney to represent a friend or family member in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. However, you should not expect to be paid back until after the bankruptcy case is closed.
Family and friends can pay the bankruptcy attorney fees for someone, but the person cannot repay them until the bankruptcy case closes. Also, if the amount is a loan, the person must be listed in the bankruptcy as a creditor. The debt would be discharged through the bankruptcy case. In other words, the person would be under no legal obligation to repay the debt.
How Much Do Bankruptcy Attorneys Charge to File Bankruptcy?
Our free bankruptcy attorney fee estimator gives you an idea of how much bankruptcy lawyers near you charge to file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. It also helps you locate a bankruptcy attorney near you who offers free consultations and case reviews.
Bankruptcy attorney fees are based on several factors including, but not limited to:
- The location where you live
- The attorney’s experience and skills
- The chapter of bankruptcy you file
- The complexity of your case
The bankruptcy attorney fees for a Chapter 7 case generally are less than the attorneys’ fees for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 cases are more complex. They involve drafting a repayment plan and take much more work than a typical no-asset Chapter 7 case.
Likewise, cases involving non-exempt assets, businesses, fraudulent transfers, preferential payments, and other issues that complicate a case could increase the fees charged by a bankruptcy attorney.
What Other Fees Will I Pay in Addition to Bankruptcy Attorney Fees?
In addition to the bankruptcy attorney fees, you must also pay:
- Filing fee to the bankruptcy court
- Fee for a credit counseling course
- Fee for the debtor education course
The filing fee for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is $338, and the filing fee for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is $313. Fees for the bankruptcy courses depend on the company you choose. Generally, companies charge between $10 to $50 for courses. The United States Trustee’s Office provides a list of approved credit counseling and debtor education companies on its website.
In some cases, you might qualify to waive the bankruptcy filing fee and/or the fees for the bankruptcy courses. However, you must file a motion with the bankruptcy court requesting to waive the filing fee and meet the income requirements to waive the fee. Each company that provides bankruptcy courses has a procedure for requesting a waiver of fees based on income.
What Happens if I Cannot Pay to File Bankruptcy?
However, before proceeding with a bankruptcy filing, you should take advantage of a free bankruptcy consultation with a lawyer. If there are any issues in your case, you need to know about those before filing.
Filing bankruptcy without a lawyer could result in property loss or other consequences. Therefore, make sure you understand the pros and cons of filing bankruptcy before taking the next step.
Also, talking with a bankruptcy lawyer can work in your favor. Many bankruptcy attorneys accept payment plans for bankruptcy attorneys fees. If you need to file Chapter 13, the bankruptcy attorney may include most of the attorneys’ fees in the bankruptcy plan to decrease what you need to pay upfront for filing Chapter 13.
Alternatives to Filing Bankruptcy to Get Rid of Debt
Some people choose non-bankruptcy methods to eliminate debt problems. There are several ways to get rid of debt including, but not limited to:
At Ascend, we explore all debt relief options to help you decide which method works best for you. Most of our services are free of charge. We help you compare debt relief options and provide tools and resources to help you on the road to being debt-free.
Contact us to speak with a member of our team. Call or text us at 833-272-3631 or reach out to us online.