Cost to file bankruptcy

How much does it cost to file bankruptcy?

Let’s be perfectly honest: If bankruptcy is among your considerations for fixing your financial situation, the associated cost of filing likely aren’t significant enough to keep you from doing so. Still, it’s good to understand what costs are involved so there aren’t any surprises. This article will walk you through the average cost to file bankruptcy.

We’ll review the cost to file Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the most common types of consumer bankruptcy (Chapter 11 is far more expensive and usually reserved for extremely complicated cases involving very large amounts of debt).

Keep in mind these costs are just estimates based on national averages. Fees and other costs will vary by city and state and attorney fees will vary by attorney and the complexity of your case.

Related articles:
Bankruptcy: The differences between Chapter 7 & Chapter 13
Bankruptcy: The differences between Chapter 7 & Chapter 11

Cost to file

Whether you use an attorney or not, there is a fee to file both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. These fees cover court costs for your case. For Chapter 7, the costs for filing, including administrative fees and trustee fees, usually runs around $350 or less. The filing fees for Chapter 13 are slightly more at roughly $385.

Attorney fees

As mentioned before, attorney fees will vary, but the average attorney fee for Chapter 7 runs around $1,100. Depending on where you live and the experience level of the attorney you choose, that cost can range from a low of around $800 to a high of roughly $1,500. That’s why it’s important to speak with a few attorneys before choosing one. You’ll want to save money if you can, but it’s also important to feel comfortable with the person you choose and feel confident in their expertise.

Keep in mind that if your case requires more court time than average, your attorney fees could be more.

Chapter 13 is more expensive on average than Chapter 7, though, again, the particulars of your case can impact your overall costs. Generally speaking, attorney fees for Chapter 13 typically run between $3,000 and $4,000.

Credit counseling/financial management courses

During the bankruptcy process, you’ll be required to take a credit counseling course before your case is approved by the court. The cost is usually nominal and depends on where you live. Typically, these courses run somewhere between $20 and $100.

Related article: What is bankruptcy counseling and do I need it?

Likewise, before your case is discharged, you’ll be required to take a financial management course to ensure you understand how to better manage your money going forward. These courses also run between $20 and $100 depending on where you live.

Both courses are often referred to as bankruptcy certificates.

Conversion fees

Should your financial situation change during your bankruptcy process, it may be necessary to convert your Chapter 13 to Chapter 7 or vice versa. In this case, there can be an additional cost associated with the conversion. It is typically free to convert from Chapter 7 to Chapter 13, but there is a nominal fee of around $25 to convert from Chapter 13 to Chapter 7. (Learn more about the differences between the types of bankruptcy.)

Overall cost to file bankruptcy

Here’s a breakdown of the average overall costs you can expect when filing for bankruptcy:

Chapter 7Chapter 13
Attorney fees$800 – $1,500$3,000 – $4,000
Filing fees$350$385

Credit counseling/financial management courses
$20 – $100$20 – $100

Total average costs
$1,170 – $1,950$3,405 – $4,485

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