With money on your mind "how much" has to be the first question. The cost of filing is made up of 4 fees: the court filing fee, the credit counseling fee, the debtor education fee, and the attorney fee.
The court filing fee is different for chapter 7 and chapter 13. For chapter 7, the fee is $335.00. For chapter 13, the filing fee is $310.00.
The credit counseling course is $25.00. This class must be completed before the case is filed.
The post-filing debtor education course is $35.00. This class is taken after the case has been filed.
The attorney fee: For chapter 7 the fee has to be paid in full before the case can be filed. However, it does not have to be paid all at once. You can make payments. The total attorney fee for chapter 7 is $800.00. Discounts are available for anyone who earns less than $2,000 per month.
For chapter 13, part of the fee is paid before the case is filed. However, most of the fee is paid as part of the chapter 13 plan payments, so it is spread out over the life of the plan. The pre-filing part of the fee is $500.00. The part paid in the plan is $1,500.00.
To do the math:
Ch 7 --> $335.00 + $25.00 + $800.00 = $1,160.00 Before filing, and $35.00 After filing.
Ch 13 -->$310.00 + $25.00 + $500.00 = $835.00 Before filing, and $35.00 plus plan payments.
Chapter 7 is the short bankruptcy. It typically gets discharged 90 to 120 days after the case is filed. However there are income limitations on who can file a chapter 7.
Chapter 13 is a re-organization form of bankruptcy. Every chapter 13 case will have monthly plan payments, and the case can be either 3 to 5 years long. While it is possible to pay the plan off sooner, most cases run the full scheduled length. The plan payments cover the Trustee's fee, remaining attorney fee, and debts that need to be repaid.
The short answer is yes. But please remember most people looking into filing bankruptcy have little cash available to pay the cost of filing.
The court fee can be waived if your household income is below 150% of the poverty level for a family of your size AND you are unable to pay the fee in installments.
The fees for the two counseling course can also be waived in some situations. However, the companies that offer the courses set their own guidelines as to when they will waive their fee.
The attorney fee can also be waived in some situations, and discounts are available for anyone earning less than $2,000 per month. We have tried to reduce the fee as much as possible for everyone.
The remote process is not ideal for everyone. In order to keep the cost of filing as low as possible, there is no law office for you to visit or receptionist acting as a middleman between you and the attorney working on your case. Instead, all calls and all questions are answered by the attorney working on your case. You can contact the attorney directly via phone, text, or email. All the paperwork is sent via US priority mail or FedEx, and the cost of the shipping is included in the attorney fee.
Step 1. Initial Phone Call - This is a free call with the attorney to talk about your situation, to see which chapter of bankruptcy your may qualify for, and to consider your non bankruptcy options.
Step 2. Retainer Agreement - This is the document that officially forms the Attorney-Client relationship. It must be signed and returned with your first payment towards the attorney fee. If you have the ability to receive and print, the retainer agreement can be emailed to you along with a FedEx shipping label.
Step 3. As soon as your signed contract is received, we will send you the client information package, a copy of the attorney signed contract, and information on the counseling courses. The client information package is where you provide the information your attorney needs to prepare the case documents. You can complete the package as fast or as slowly as you like. If you have questions about the information package, please let the attorney know before you send the pack back to the law firm. When it is complete, please sent it back using the included shipping label.
*A home visit can be scheduled instead of step 4 if you live within a 1 hour drive of Disney, or you can ship the information back.
Step 4. Review Call - After your information has been processed, the attorney would like to talk with you to clarify some of the information you have provided, to discuss your case further, and to help determine the best time to file your case.
Step 5. Paying the pre-filing fees - We can work on preparing your case documents before the fees have been paid. You control when your case is filed and how fast you pay your pre-filing fees. However, it is recommended that you try to pay at least $50 per month towards the pre-filing fees.
Step 6. Complete the credit counseling course. The certificate that you receive at the end of the course is only valid for 180 days. So, it is best to wait until you know when your case will be filed.
*A home visit can be scheduled instead of step 7 if you live within a 1 hour drive of Disney, or you can ship the signed documents back.
Step 7. Reviewing and signing your case documents - When your case documents are ready, they will be sent to you via US priority mail or FedEx. We will schedule a call to talk you through the documents as you sign them and make any last minute changes. The signed documents are then sent back to the law firm with the enclosed shipping label.
Step 8. Filing of the case - Once your case is filed, your attorney will call or text you your case number. A copy of the fully executed case documents will be mailed to you for your records.
Step 9. 341 Meeting aka Creditor's Meeting. Shortly after your case is filed you will receive the court notice with the date and time of your Creditor's Meeting. The meeting is normally about 30 days after the case is filed. We do not control when your case will be scheduled. You MUST attend this meeting. Your attorney will call you to remind you of the meeting and answer any questions you may have 5 to 7 days before the scheduled meeting. Your attorney will personally attend the 341 with you and will see you shortly before the scheduled meeting.
Step 10. Debtor's education - This is the last step for those who filed chapter 7. You must take this course after your case is filed and before the discharge can be entered. Chapter 13 clients must also complete the debtor's education course.
Step 11. (FOR Chapter 13 ONLY) - In addition to making monthly plan payments to the Trustee starting 30 days after your case is filed, your case will have at least one confirmation hearing. You do not need to attend this hearing. Your attorney will attend this hearing for you. If you would like to attend the hearing, please let your attorney know. In the lead up to your confirmation hearing, we may need to exchange some additional paperwork. And, you will need to send the Trustee a copy of each tax return you file while your case is active.
Your time is valuable. With the remote process, you have the flexibility to complete your client information package and sign your documents when you want. Aside from the Creditor's Meeting, you do not have to physically go to any meetings. By using US Priority Mail and FedEx, your documents can be sent almost anywhere you are securely. There are so many FedEx drop boxes and US mail boxes that there is sure to be one near you. If you are traveling, you can even have the documents held at a FedEx location for you to pickup.
According to one company that offers the credit counseling course, the course takes approximately 1 to 2 hours to complete. It does not have to be completed in one session, and can be done either online or over the phone.
The Debtor's Education course takes approximately 2 hours to complete, and it too does not have to be completed in one session.
The client information package is 20 pages long. However, some of the questions may not apply to you, and some people may need to add additional pages if there are more creditors to be listed. The time to complete the package varies greatly by person.
While preparing to file, or after your case has been filed, I'm sure you will have more questions. Please send me an email at info@FoxLawFL.com whenever you have a question. If you have any concerns or need to talk, you have a few options: you can text or email me your name, number and the best time to reach you, so your attorney can call you; or you can call the attorney's cell phone number (813)313-0975. If you call the cell phone, please leave a message.
Emails are preferred as it cuts down on phone tag.
Please note: no one will ever email or call you requesting your social security number. While your attorney will need your social security number to file your case, the number is only to be provided during your review call which is a call you initiate.