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How Much Does a Bankruptcy Lawyer Cost?

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Bankruptcy Attorney Fees

If you are filing for bankruptcy, you don't have to go through it alone. While the law doesn't make it necessary to hire a bankruptcy lawyer, you will find that having an experienced legal professional on your side will make the bankruptcy process as smooth and stress-free as possible. In addition to helping you file all the necessary paperwork and coordinating with the court, bankruptcy lawyers will do everything they can to protect your property, insulate you from cutthroat creditors, and provide guidance on securing a strong financial future. Below you'll find more information about bankruptcy attorneys, including how much they cost.

Factors Affecting Bankruptcy Attorney Fees

There are a number of variables that affect the cost of a bankruptcy lawyer. One of them is whether you are filing for chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy.

  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy: This type of bankruptcy allows you to eliminate certain types of debts, but those assets which aren't protected by state exemptions may be liquidated by the court. If you're considering chapter 7, a bankruptcy attorney can help you take the Means test to determine whether you qualify. He or she will also coordinate with a court-appointed trustee whose man role is to oversee the liquidation of your assets to satisfy debts. A chapter 7 bankruptcy generally takes around 4-6 months to complete.
  • Chapter 13 bankruptcy: If you do not qualify for chapter 7, a common alternative is chapter 13. Although most of your assets are protected under chapter 13, you do have to have to enter into a court-mandated payment plan to pay back your creditors When going through chapter 13 bankruptcy, a personal bankruptcy lawyer helps you to come up with a repayment schedule (which usually lasts 3-5 years) and have it approved by the court.

Because chapter 13 takes longer to complete than chapter 7, your bankruptcy attorneys fees for chapter 13 are typically higher. Other factors that affect the cost of a bankruptcy lawyer include:

  • The lawyer's experience
  • Your location
  • An attorney's individual billing methods and charges
  • The amount of time and work needed to complete your bankruptcy
  • Attorney travel costs
  • Paralegal fees

How Much Does a Bankruptcy Lawyer Cost?

Bearing in mind the factors described above, bankruptcy lawyer cost usually falls into the following range:

  • For a chapter 7 filing, you can expect to pay approximately $1,000 to $3,000.
  • For a chapter 13 filing, you might pay roughly $2,500 to $5,000 in bankruptcy attorney fees.
  • These costs can be based on either a flat fee or an hourly fee depending on the lawyer. If paying by the hour, the attorney will most likely request a retainer fee, which serves as a down payment.
    • You will probably have to pay your lawyer up-front for chapter 7 representations (otherwise he or she might be incapable of collecting payment).
    • For chapter 13 cases, the majority of the bankruptcy attorney cost can usually be structured into your repayment plan.
  • In addition to the actual bankruptcy lawyer fees, there are other fees you will have to pay, including:
    • Federal filling fees ($299 for chapter 7 and $274 for chapter 13)
    • Trustee fees
    • Consumer counseling fees
    • Outside consultation fees to verify debtor's information