As a St. Louis bankruptcy attorney, the question I am asked the most is, “How much does it cost to file bankruptcy?” When you are in dire financial straits, you don’t normally have a lot of extra cash laying around. The creditors are hounding you for a payment, you are struggling to keep the lights on, and then there is that minor thing about having to eat everyday. When money is tight, money is tight.
But let’s put this into perspective: Say you have approximately $20,000.00 in credit card debt; another $4,000.00 in medical bills; some outstanding payday loans in the amount of $1,500.00; and that car company is still after you for the deficiency on a repossession from last year of $14,000.00. As you can see, the debts can start to add up quickly. And this isn’t including things like penalties, interest, fines, and all the creditor’s attorney fees.
At this point, you begin looking into filing for bankruptcy. Let’s say that the average fees for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is $1,000.00 (although our St. Louis Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers charge $700.00). If the total amount of debt that you owe to your creditors is somewhere in the range of $50,000.00, then it really comes down to a cost/benefit analysis. In other words, is it worth paying an attorney $1,000.00 to file a St. Louis Chapter 7 or St. Louis Chapter 13 so that you can get debt relief to the tune of $50,000.00. The benefit is clear.
Also keep in mind that the fees do not have to be paid all at once. Most bankruptcy attorneys will allow you to make payments over time, so that you can spread things out a bit. For instance, if you are paid bi-weekly at your job, you could pay a portion of the fees with every paycheck that you receive. Before you know it, you’ll be paid in full, and the case can be filed.
Ultimately, the goal of the bankruptcy is to discharge all the unsecured debt that you are carrying around. Once that debt is discharged, it is gone forever, and the creditor can never hassle you again. For most people, paying an attorney to make sure that happens is worth the fees he/she charges, because once your case is complete, you will have a fresh start / clean slate, and a chance to head in a new direction in life.
If you have questions regarding the cost of filing for bankruptcy, please contact the St. Louis bankruptcy attorneys at The Law Office of Jennifer Alter-Rieken. Our staff is waiting for your call, and all phone and office consultations are free of charge.