Question Detail: How much does it cost to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy? Is it more expensive than a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
Answer: Chapter 13’s generally cost more than Chapter 7’s. Chapter 13 is more labor intensive, requires more court hearings, and overall just takes substantially more time. In most, if not all, jurisdictions the bankruptcy court sets a flat fee for Chapter 13 bankruptcies (but not Chapter 7s), and everyone in town charges that amount. In legalese, the flat fee is often referred to as the ‘presumptive fee.’ Alternatively, an attorney can bill by-the-hour for more complicated cases to get paid more, but rarely does an attorney charge any less than the presumptive fee. Because debtors are already struggling financially and the courts want to protect against price gouging in the debtor’s time of need, the presumptive fee is very much on the low end for equivalent legal services in another area of law. Law firms are free to set the ‘up-front’ fee: the amount you have to pay to file your case and receive a badly needed ‘case number.’ The up-front fee is not an additional fee, it is applied toward the overall flat fee. Some law firms charge as low as $500 up front, while others require the entire amount. When shopping around for the right bankruptcy attorney, keep these simple rules in mind: compare firms based on value, not price alone. Look for a competitive price, not the lowest price in town. A very low price all but guarantees that you will get very little time and attention. Have a question about bankruptcy in Utah? Craig Swapp & Associates would be happy to answer it. Please submit your question online and we’ll respond as soon as possible.