You may be considering a bankruptcy in Florida and wondering what to expect when it comes to attorney’s fees (and filing fees).
Great news, we have analyzed many data points and can break down how Florida bankruptcy attorney fees are determine based on 5 main factors.
The purpose of the article is to provide different variables that go into the bankruptcy attorney fees in Florida while providing an opportunity to estimate the attorney fees in your area of Florida. If you'd like to just estimate attorney fees, feel free to just click the button above or you can estimate it here.
Let's get started. The bankruptcy attorney fees are primarily determine by the following:
You can also take our free bankruptcy attorney cost estimator via our bankruptcy calculator to help estimate the bankruptcy cost and fees in your area.
The type of bankruptcy is important.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often a much faster bankruptcy as you can see a discharge within 90 days. These bankruptcies are often less complex, which requires less of the attorney’s time, so these are often less expensive.
A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Florida is a “wage earners” plan bankruptcy, which means that you may be able to pay some of your debts, so this chapter often is much more complex, so these require more of attorney’s time, so these are more expensive. That said, the fees are often included in the Chapter 13 payment plan.
In addition most bankruptcy courts have schedules of presumptively reasonable fees that many practitioners will charge.
There is also variability of complexity within Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases. Let’s go through some of the complexity of each case:
A means test is used to determine whether you are eligible for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. To complete the means test, the government uses Census Bureau Administrative Expenses Multipliers and IRS Data. This is completed through a version of the Bankruptcy Form 122.
Put simply, one of the ways to qualify is to be below the median set forth. For filings on or after May 1, 2020, you would just need to look up the data for your state, household size, and income. I have also included a table below:
|# of People||Annual Income|
Please note that if your household is greater than the maximum number in the table above, you would just need to add $9,000 per individual.
If you are under the median after completing the Bankruptcy Form Form B122A-1 and Form 122A-2, you may qualify. These types of bankruptcies are often simpler for attorneys because you qualify much easier than if you are above the median. This can reflect in the total cost of the bankruptcy in Florida.
You may be able to qualify if your income is above the median income if you are exempt from the means test (more information in this bankruptcy form) or if you are able to deduct certain expenses.
If your income is above the median, you will be directed to fill out Form 122A-2. It is more complicated to determine whether you qualify for a Chapter 7 when you are above the median income thus it will take more of the attorney’s time, so it will result in generally a higher cost.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy often lasts 3 or 5 years. There can be quite a bit of complexity in a Chapter 13 case to determine what the plan payment should be. For example, someone that has child support in arrears may be wondering how Chapter 13 deals with this aspect. There is also some ongoing logistics that an attorney has to do if there are significant changes in the 3 to 5 year period.
The location of where you are filing a bankruptcy is also hugely relevant. For example, per PACER, one area of Florida could charge $1500 for a Chapter 7 and another area could charge $2000+ for the same Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
You see this discrepancy across the United States, so it’s not surprising that you also see this discrepancy in Florida.
You may be seeing ads for a very low cost bankruptcy option and wonder why an attorney quoted you an amount that is higher. The answer can be found in two types of firms, and I’ll explain them both.
A full service bankruptcy law firm in Florida would generally provide the initial consultation with an attorney or a highly trained paralegal. You would most likely have multiple engagements with an attorney who would answer your questions and actually monitor and file your bankruptcy. Often, if time permits, the attorney would also show up for your 341 meeting of creditors.
As the attorney’s time is valuable, a full service firm may be priced higher than the bankruptcy mill which we will learn more about below.
A bankruptcy mill as American Bankruptcy Institute describes is a high volume law practice that advertises aggressively and provides poor quality legal services. Does that mean this applies to all bankruptcy mills? Not necessarily, but the direction ABI provides is helpful.
What this means is that you may have a consultation with a non-attorney staff and potentially a salesman, there may be minimum attorney contact, and you may have another attorney show up at the 341 meeting. The goal for these types of firms is to provide a high volume at a lower cost. If the attorney can spend minimal time on a case, the law firm may be able to price the bankruptcy lower.
You may look at the bankruptcy forms and realize that there is quite a bit of math and complexity within bankruptcy. It’s true that much of it is form based, but a certain level of expertise can come in handy.
For example, a bankruptcy attorney who has seen every type of bankruptcy because of twenty years of experience and a deep understanding of the law and your Florida bankruptcy district may charge more than a bankruptcy attorney who is fresh out of law school and is learning while he’s doing it with you. Also, if a bankruptcy attorney is board certified he will likely charge more because he is considered an expert in his field.
This type of expertise can definitely help if you have a more complex bankruptcy. If it’s a straightforward Chapter 7 then maybe a less experienced, lower cost option may be more applicable.
Now that you understand what goes into the fees, you may be interested to estimate what the fee would be where you live. Free free to try our free bankruptcy calculator that does the following:
Give me a shout if you have any questions. You can reach me by scheduling a call with me during a time that’s convenient for you or by sending me a note. I check these regularly, so I will be sure to respond as quickly as possible and answer any questions you may have.