Bankruptcy Help – Filing Fees & More Information
Bankruptcy: What You Need To Know To Start
Talk to your lawyer about what fees, court filing fees and extra charges (depending on what is needed) you will be liable for in filing a bankruptcy. Most lawyers demand that all their fees and the filing cost be paid prior to the filing of a Chapter 7 petition. Some lawyers require partial payment before filing a Chapter 13 and then take the rest of their fee through the Chapter 13 plan. The current filing fee for a Chapter 7 is $306 in addition to all fees charged by the lawyer. Many lawyers charge extra fees for work in addition to the basic petition and supporting documents and the meeting of creditors.
Also, individual debtors must take two financial management courses, one within 180 days before filing bankruptcy and one before the bankruptcy is closed. There are several authorized providers for this service and their fees vary from $25 to $50 per course per person. Most providers have facilities for taking their courses on-line, by telephone or in person.
Although an individual debtor may file a bankruptcy without an attorney, this is risky and the Clerk of Court, the Trustee and the Bankruptcy Judge cannot give legal advice.
Bankruptcy Misinformation and Scams
Beware the “petition preparers,” who are not lawyers but pretend to be able help you fill out the bankruptcy forms. They are allowed under the law to help a debtor put down what the debtor tells the petition preparer to put on the forms, not to give any sort of legal advice. It is almost impossible to fill out all the required bankruptcy forms without giving some sort of legal advice. There are strict limits on what a petition preparer can charge, but many petition preparers invent extra charges to avoid these limits. Practicing law without a license from the Supreme Court of Florida is a third degree felony under Florida law. You may be asked at the meeting of creditors whether you used a petition preparer, what he or she did for you, and how much you were charged.
Also beware anyone who promises to arrange a settlement with your mortgage company, as there are many scams which take the money and property of the distressed homeowner and provide no relief with the mortgage company.