Bankruptcy Lawyer Fees: How Does it Work?

If you’re considering hiring a bankruptcy lawyer to file a bankruptcy petition and to represent you in a case, it’s important to know the bankruptcy lawyer fees.

Although courts have local rules and guidelines in place pertaining to bankruptcy fees, attorneys are not obligated to set their fees according to these guidelines. If attorneys choose not to base their fees based on the guidelines, it may be questioned by the Court.

Based on the complexity of your case, many bankruptcy attorneys charge a flat fee for simple bankruptcy cases, while others opt to charge an hourly fee. Exactly when you will be required to pay your bankruptcy attorney depend on whether you file a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13.

WHAT ARE CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY LAWYER FEES?

If you file a Chapter 7 case, the bankruptcy lawyer fees are determined by the complexity of your case and the average costs that attorneys charge in the area.  Those debtors that have a substantial amount of assets or whose income is higher than the state median for a similar household, you will generally have to pay more in attorney fees than an unemployed person with no assets.

Bankruptcy lawyer fees for Chapter 7 bankruptcy range between $500 to $3,500. Many bankruptcy attorneys will be sympathetic to your plight and arrange a payment plan. It is important to note that your case will only be filed once you have paid your fees in full.

WHAT ARE CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY LAWYER FEES?

Bankruptcy courts have guidelines for attorney fees for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Unless it is a very unique situation, attorneys are not permitted to charge more than the courts guideline fee.

The fee guidelines vary in each judicial district and are generally between $2,500 and $6,000.  A major advantage of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that you do not have to pay all your attorney fees before filing your case as a portion of your attorney fees may be included in the Chapter 13 payment plan.

Most attorneys will ask for a part of their fees before they file your case and the remainder will be paid through the payment plan. Although the amount to be paid upfront depends on the individual, expect to pay about half of the total fee.

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