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How much does it cost to file bankruptcy?

Sacramento, CA |

I'd like to know how much it costs to file for bankruptcy in the state of California.

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Attorney answers 5


Costs vary dramatically depending on the type of case and where you are filing. Filing fees for the court are fixed at 281 for a Chapter 13 and 306 for Chapter 7.

Disclaimer: This answer does not constitute legal advice. I am admitted in the States of New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts only and make no attempt to opine on matters of law that are not relevant to those three States. This advice is based on general principles of law that may or may not relate to your specific situation. Facts and laws change and these possible changes will affect the advice provided here. Consult an attorney in your locale before you act on any of this advice. You should not rely on this advice alone and nothing in these communications creates an attorney client relationship.


You'll have to interview a couple of lawyers. Expect to pay for their time to talk to you. Don't expect a quotation over the phone -- imagine you were a house painter and someone asked you to bid on a job without your having a chance to look over the house. Don't hire the cheapest or the loudest lawyer, either -- you'll get what you pay for, which is likely nothing more than advertising.


Hello. As has been mentioned... the Court fees filing will vary, depending on the type of bankruptcy. As for attorney fees, these will greatly vary depending on many factors:

The first factor which can impact the cost is which Chapter you will file under, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are the most common chapters for individuals and families. In California, Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases often have standard fees set by the district in which you file. For instance, in the Southern District of California, the standard fees for a Chapter 13 are $3300 for W-2/wage earners and $4000 for self-employed/business owners.

Another factor which can affect cost is complexity of the case. Usually, the amount of one's assets, income, varying types/sources of income, future needs/issues, and other unusual aspects a one's case can cause the price to vary greatly. As a general rule, the attorney fees charged to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy can cost anywhere from $1000 (on the very low end) up to $4000 (on the very high end).

As mentioned, you will want to meet with several attorneys to find out how much it may cost to file your case. Some attorneys may charge you for a consultation, however there are many experienced and qualified attorneys (such as myself) who offer free initial consultations to discuss your case and give you an idea of what to expect.

I highly recommend you choose an attorney you are comfortable with, and do not choose an attorney on price alone. In a chapter 13 case, you will be working with the attorney for 3-5 years... so be sure to choose an attorney who you trust and understand (ie. communicates well), who responds to your questions, and who you would feel confident working with for 5 years.

I hope this information is useful to you. Good luck in your search.


You can get court costs from the federal district BK court website.

Attorney fees vary depending upon the complexity of the case.



a good bankruptcy lawyer is going to sit down themselves and talk to you. Stay away from the cheap prices because they are mill operations that will mess up your case. My colleague Steven Kremer handles all of his cases himself from beginning to end. You should not have to pay a few to consult with them.

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