If you are contemplating bankruptcy, you’re probably wondering how much it costs. You’re probably worried about how you’ll be able to pay for an attorney, too. Bankruptcy costs in Georgia are actually quite affordable and legal fees can usually be managed if the attorney is reasonable.
Court filing fees are among the initial costs of a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In the Northern and Middle Districts of Georgia, the Chapter 7 filing fee is $338 as of 2023. This does not include the cost of mandatory credit counseling or credit reports, copying charges, or various other fees that might arise during your case. The Chapter 13 filing fee is $313 as of 2023, in addition to the costs mentioned above.
Attorney’s fees for Chapter 7 cases vary based on factors like where you live and the complexity of your case. Most attorneys, recognizing that clients are in financial distress, take care to charge reasonable fees. In most Chapter 7 cases, attorney’s fees are between $1,000 and $2,000 and often are on the lower end of that range. This is a one-time charge covering the entire case. Attorneys are required to obtain full payment up front, because filing the Chapter 7 triggers an automatic stay that prevents collection of any debts, including the lawyer’s fee. Many law firms, including ours, let clients pay in installments. This allows the attorney to begin preparation of your case and to take action if you are being harassed by creditors. But the attorney won’t actually file the bankruptcy petition until the full fee is paid.
Attorney’s fees in Chapter 13 work differently. You do not have to pay the full amount upfront. Instead, the attorney’s fees can be included in your repayment plan. This makes for a lower down payment. However, Chapter 13 cases are generally more work for lawyers, so the fees are likely to add up to more than in a Chapter 7. In Georgia, you can expect to pay around $3,500 to $4,500 in Chapter 13 attorney’s fees.
You have the right to pursue bankruptcy without a lawyer but we don’t recommend it. Bankruptcy rules and procedures are complicated and it’s easy to make a mistake that could cause you to lose your house, vehicle or other property. You shouldn’t run that risk.
If you live in the Atlanta area and are thinking of filing for bankruptcy, Jeff Field & Associates offers a free initial consultation at our offices in Athens, Douglasville, Gainesville, Lawrenceville, Marietta and Scottdale. Call us at 404-381-1278 or contact us online.
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