If you have decided to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it’s almost certain money is already a concern in your life. Because every penny counts, it is important that you be aware of your upcoming future expenses – not only those to maintain your daily life, but those associated with bankruptcy to secure a fresh start for you. Attorney fees may vary from lawyer to lawyer, but court filing fees are far more certain. There are different options for paying court filing fees required to begin your bankruptcy petition which we will explore in-depth below.
Georgia bankruptcy courts have a uniform fee table that establishes the fee amount when a petition or pleading is filed. As of 2018, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy costs $335 to file, which a Chapter 13 bankruptcy costs $310. The fee cannot be paid by personal check and some offices don’t accept cash, so it is advisable to speak with a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney to learn how and where to pay your filing fee. Other fees apply if you are seeking to reopen a bankruptcy, split a case, appeal, convert one bankruptcy chapter to another, or need various services.
If you can’t afford the filing fee, you can apply to pay in installments. If the court approves your application and the payment timetable presented, you will be able to pay portions at a time. However, you are still obligated to pay the full filing fee amount even if your case is dismissed, and until you pay the entire fee the Court won’t discharge your debts.
Can I Waive the Filing Fee?
Money is so tight for some people that they are unable to afford even installment payments of the bankruptcy filing. These individuals can apply for a Chapter 7 fee waiver and ask the court to waive the fee in its entirety. Chapter 13 applicants, however, do not have such a waiver available to them.
You must show why the Court should grant your application. Bankruptcy or district courts will review the application and may waive the filing fee someone who is both unable to pay the fee in installments and has an income less than 150 percent of the applicable income at the official poverty line for the size of the family involved – a standard set by the US Department of Health and Human Services.
There are three possible outcomes when you apply for a Chapter 7 fee waiver. The Court may grant your application and waive the fee, it may want to investigate further and set a hearing date, or it may deny the application and order you to pay the filing fee either in installments or in full.
Getting Help with the Bankruptcy Filing Fee
Even though bankruptcy is ultimately intended to get your finances back on track, it can be intimidating to go through the process when you do not have money to spare. Filling out applications for installment payments or waivers and submitting them to the Court with appropriate proof can be a confusing, anxiety-inducing event. The Ballard Law Group is here to answer your questions and assist you. Our attorneys will evaluate your unique situation and help you through the process in a way that best suits your needs – call us today at (404) 800-9939 to schedule your free initial consultation, or chat with one of our representatives online now.