In general, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney will charge you a flat fee. In most cases, these fees will range from $1,000 to $1,500 depending on the attorney. However, keep in mind while it may be feasible to file yourself, an attorney is there to help protect your rights, make sure your filing is accurate and help you through the court process.
When fees are due
Before a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, the fees for credit counseling must be paid up front. Keep in mind, this counseling must be completed prior to filing bankruptcy in nearly all cases. Depending on your individual state, the court may allow you to pay the filing fee in increments, however, in most cases, this must be paid up front at the time of filing. Your attorney may allow you to pay their fee over time as well, however that must be worked out with them ahead of time.
Before you hire an attorney
In most cases, before you hire a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney, there are some questions that you should ask regarding their fees. This will help you determine what your overall costs will be. Relevant questions include:
Are your fees flat rate or do you charge by the hour?
How much are filing fees and what other expenses do I need to be concerned with?
Can I get a total estimate of your fees plus all relevant expenses and costs?
When will I have to pay your fee?
Is it possible to work out a payment plan?
At any time would you consider negotiating your fee?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you will be able to make an informed decision.
I cannot afford an attorney
Keep in mind, if you attempt to file bankruptcy on your own, in the long run, it could cost you more money. Hiring an experienced attorney can help ensure that your case goes as smoothly as possible. The bankruptcy laws are very confusing and one single mistake in your filing could wind up costing you significantly more down the road.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings require the debtor to pass a means test and for those who qualify, and offers debtors a clean slate. Finding the right attorney to help you through the process is not only wise, it is also not as expensive as you might think. In general, the total cost of an attorney, filing fees and associated costs should be less than $2,000.