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Attorney's Fees in Personal Bankruptcy Cases

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Attorney's Fees in Personal Bankruptcy Cases

Attorney’s fees in personal bankruptcy cases generally come in the form of a flat fee that is quoted in advance based on the predicted complexity of the case. 

How Does the Attorney Determine the Flat Fee?

In assessing the attorney fee for a bankruptcy case, the attorney looks at a number of factors, including:

  • The time and work required
  • The newness and difficulty of the problems
  • The skill required
  • Whether the attorney will have to give up taking other cases
  • The usual fee charged by attorneys for similar work
  • The experience, reputation, and ability of the attorney
  • The desirability of the case

In addition, the client will have to pay the court filing fee. 

Will the Fee Amount Depend on the Type of Bankruptcy?

Two of the most common types of bankruptcy are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Depending on which type of bankruptcy is most appropriate for your circumstances, different fee amounts may apply.

How Much Can I Expect to Pay for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the preferred kind of Bankruptcy for most people, since the debtor does not have to pay off any debts before liquidating assets and being absolved of all debts. 

For a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, attorneys generally require some kind of down payment as security.  The amount of the down payment will depend on the client’s income, assets, and other relevant information. 

Attorney’s fees for Chapter 7 bankruptcy generally range from $500 to $1,500, depending on the complexity of the case, though the amounts can be greater if there are any complicating factors present.

What Types of Complicating Factors Might Increase Attorney’s Fees?

Complicating factors that might increase attorney’s fees include:

  • Owning real estate, a business, or non-exempt property
  • Needing to reaffirm secured debts
  • Owing more than $40,000
  • Having income that is hard to verify
  • Tax problems
  • Child support
  • Having a criminal record

How Much Can I Expect to Pay for a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is generally more appropriate for people with higher incomes. It gives the debtor more time to pay off some or all of their debts. In these instances, an attorney may not require any money down before handling the case, however, the bankruptcy case may be more complicated and thus more expensive, often costing more than $4,000. 

Hiring an Attorney

Hiring an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to handle your bankruptcy case is a wise investment to optimize your results and ensure your matter is handled professionally.

Photo of page author Grant Atkinson

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 02-07-2014 10:26 AM PST

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