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What's a fair price for a chapter 7 and a chapter 13 including filing fees?

Cleveland, OH |

I need the most affordable price as I work part time.

Attorney Answers 9

Posted

You are making the fatal assumption that a lawyer that charges less is offering the same thing as a lawyer that changes more. Legal services, even bankruptcy, is not a commodity. If you really want affordable (meaning, you want cheap), don't expect much service and you will almost never actually speak to an attorney. Your case will be handled by a paralegal that is only supervised (barely) by an attorney.

Instead of focusing on price alone, you really need to think about what you want out of an attorney. Do you want to have someone available to answer your questions, do you want to actually meet and talk to the attorney handling your case. Is the first time you find out you will lose an asset in bankruptcy is at the creditors meeting (when it is too late to do anything about it).

Also, a chapter 13 is a vastly different case than a chapter 7.

Really good attorneys won't charge under $2,000. Attorneys that charge less than $2,000 but more than $1000 are either inexperienced or don't really understand the value of their service. Attorneys that charge less than $1,000 are offering a paralegal service with an attorney name attached to it.

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3 comments

Shaye Larkin

Shaye Larkin

Posted

Excellent response by the brilliant Mr. Berkus

Adrienne Marie Hines

Adrienne Marie Hines

Posted

I just want to say that in my jurisdictions (Tolefo/Cleveland/Akron/Canton), it is very rare for an attorney to charge $2,000 for a chapter 7. Our judges will not allow fees this high in a run-of-the-mill chapter 7 case and the market doesn't support it. I absolutely agree that price shopping is dangerous and you will almost ALWAYS get what you pay for if you seek out the cheapest attorney.

David Michael Benson

David Michael Benson

Posted

The filing fees for bankruptcy cases in the Northern District of Ohio have increased to: Chapter 7 (Voluntary). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $335 Chapter 7 (Involuntary). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $335 Chapter 9. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,717 Chapter 11. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,717 Chapter 12. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $275 Chapter 13. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $310 Chapter 15. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $1,717

Posted

Attorneys charge different fees for Chapter 7, and the fees depend on how complicated your situation is. Your best bet is to use the Find A Lawyer tab on this website and get a list of reputable bankruptcy attorneys - then call each one to find out what they would charge; then you will know the range. Here is my recent legal guide on how to pay for bankruptcy: http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/how-to-pay-for-bankruptcy

The information provided herein is general information only and not legal advice. The information provided herein does not create an attorney client relationship and is not a substitute for having a consultation with an attorney. It is important to have a consultation with an attorney as the information provided in this forum is limited and cannot possibly cover all potential issues in a given situation.

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David C Braun

David C Braun

Posted

Great guide on how to pay for bankruptcy services!

Shaye Larkin

Shaye Larkin

Posted

Thank you :)

Posted

The filing fee is $307 in ch 7 and $281 in ch 13 no matter where in the U.S. If you are doing a chapter 7, in fact all you really care about is two things: can you keep everything you own and can you discharge all your debts (vs do you have any debts that are NOT dischargeable). But there are other issues that an attorney will ask you that can affect our advice to you. For example, if you paid back a relative $3000 11 months ago and file bankruptcy this week the trustee will sue your relative to retrieve that $3000 (called a preference). Thus, always seek an attorneys advice from an attorney wo has practiced for many years. A good attorney is going to advise you of which chapter to file and why also along with is there an advantages of waiting to file and who to pay between now and when you file. Thus, obtain an experienced attorneys advices..for ch 7 and 13 it is normally probably free..so find an attorney you are comfortable with and follow their advice! good luck and I hope all of our attorneys answers have assisted you too. I suggest no matter what do NOT go to an attorney with less than 200 cases filed as the experience breeds knowledge and options!

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Shaye Larkin

Shaye Larkin

Posted

Great response by Mr. Granvold

Deborah M. DeMack

Deborah M. DeMack

Posted

Generally speaking, I agree with Mr. Granvold's answer. However, mere number of cases filed is NOT necessarily what makes for a good attorney. There are plenty of "mills" out there, churning out BK petitions -- often with incorrect, inaccurate information, and worse, facts NOT reflected because the attorney did not take the time to interview the client, go over the case in depth, and ask the right questions. An understanding of the bankruptcy process, knowing what to look for, and asking probing questions are the hallmarks of a good, caring attorney. Experience counts, but knowledge and understanding are key.

Shaye Larkin

Shaye Larkin

Posted

So true. I've seen some pretty sloppy work done by bankruptcy mills.

Richard D. Granvold

Richard D. Granvold

Posted

I agree a million% ! I have never used anyone to advise my clients ever..no paralegals or interns..Only I advise my clients for that very reason...and we have seen them come and go!!that is the TV mill work etc places!!Great comment!

Shaye Larkin

Shaye Larkin

Posted

:) I'm the same way :) No paralegal for me. I wear three hats - paralegal, attorney, and receptionist!

Malik W. Ahmad

Malik W. Ahmad

Posted

Simple, straight forward response, instead of the typical "it depends". The gentleman asked a direct question, and our effort should be to reply a direct answer.

Posted

As stated by my colleagues, it depends. Chapter 7 bankruptcy fees range based on your particular situation (eg. number of creditors, emergency on non-emergency, secured vs. unsecured debt, number of lawsuits pending to name a few). Chapter 13 bankruptcy fees tend to be narrower in range as most bankruptcy attorneys take a small retainer upfront and the remainder of the fee is paid through the Chapter 13 Plan. Biggest variation here is normally the retainer upfront. Consultations are usually free. Contact a few attorneys in your area to get an idea what they would charge and what that fee includes.

Good. Luck

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Shaye Larkin

Shaye Larkin

Posted

Great response by Mr. Taylor

Posted

For a fairly uncomplicated chapter 7 in Cleveland, the attorney fees range from $700-1200. More complicating factors can increase the price such as self-employed income, businesses, the number of creditors, number of properties etc. Attorney fees are in addition to the $306 filing fee. For reference, my office handles Cleveland cases and I charge $1,250 total. This includes my attorney fees if $850, the filing fee of $306 and then my office purchases a credit report and we pay for the two mandatory credit counseling classes. When you are finding a bankruptcy lawyer, make sure you understand ALL the fees associated. My office is an hour west of Cleveland so my market is a little different than yours These numbers are just for your reference. Utilize this site to find someone in your area who can help you.

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Malik W. Ahmad

Malik W. Ahmad

Posted

Thanks for writing a simple, straight-forward answer, instead of the typical "it depends". That is the approach I like.

Posted

Check around and find an attorney that will speak with you on the phone prior to coming in and who also has a sliding scale fee depending on how complex your case is.

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Shaye Larkin

Shaye Larkin

Posted

Great response by Mr. Bueker

Posted

For a normal bankruptcy $1500 should cover all the filing fees, attorney fees, credit counseling and financial management.

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Posted

As to Chapter 7 cases, it will depend upon the complexity of the case, and the general "going rate" in the market. You might consider checking with a few lawyers who are members of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys in your area. As to Chapter 13 cases, you should check the local rules of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Cleveland, OH, because many court districts have limits, imposed in the local rules, regarding Chapter 13 attorney fees.

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Shaye Larkin

Shaye Larkin

Posted

Great response by Mr Hunter

Posted

Fee structure varies district to district as pointed out by the colleagues who have commented herein.

For instance, here in the Northern District of Florida a practitioner can charge a consumer (not commercial) client up to $1500 for a Chapter 7 and up to $3500 for a Chapter 13 without the specific approval of the court. If, for some reason, the case is particularly complicated and time-consuming, then higher fees may be awarded, but not without the lawyer filing a motion for compensation which he supports with his time records and specific explanations for the excess charge.

However, excluded from the fees suggested above, if your case should involve extra litigation such as a complaint to determine whether your are eligible for discharge, or an adversary proceeding--which is a law suit within the bankruptcy case against a third party to establish a right. These matters usually require additional fees, again subject to approval by the court.

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