Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Expenses Must Be Paid Before Filing
Expense #1 Credit Counseling Must be Completed Before Your Case Can Be Filed
Prior to filing your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, you must pay for credit counseling through a provider approved by the United States Trustee or the Bankruptcy Administrator. The list of approved credit counseling companies can be found on the websites for either the US Trustee or the Bankruptcy Administrator for the district in which you case is filed. The credit counseling must be completed at least one day prior to the filing of your bankruptcy case. The cost of credit counseling is generally around $34 in an individual or joint case. Bankruptcy lawyers in the Northern District of Alabama are not allowed to “mark up” the costs of credit counseling, the credit report, or the financial management course. You are charged the actual cost incurred by your bankruptcy lawyer.
Expense #2 The Filing Fee Due to the Bankruptcy Court
When you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case you must pay the bankruptcy court a filing fee of $299.00. If you forget a creditor and have to file an amendment to your list of creditors, you will have to pay an additional court cost of $26.00 for each amendment that you file.
Expense #3 The Cost of A Credit Report
Most experienced bankruptcy attorneys will run a credit report as part of the preparation of your bankruptcy case. The cost of the credit report varies based on the company used by your attorney. Generally it costs $30 for an individual report and $50 for joint credit report. The benefit of running the credit report is that you know that all the creditors reporting to the credit bureaus will be listed in your case. It is also an excellent source for identifying judgments that are showing on your record.
Expense #4 After Your Case is Filed you Must Complete a Financial Management Course
In order to receive your bankruptcy discharge, you must also complete a financial management course after you file your bankruptcy case. Again, a list of approved financial management companies can be found on the websites for either the U.S. Trustee or the Bankruptcy Administrator for the district in which you case is filed. The course is completed online or by watching a DVD. The debtor education (financial management course) must be completed or you will not be entitled to receive a bankruptcy discharge. If a Certificate of Financial Management is not filed with the Court, your case will be closed without the entry of a discharge. If your case is closed without a discharge, it will be as if you never filed in terms of your creditors’ ability to sue you. Many bankruptcy lawyers collect the $8 per person (average costs) upfront. If you pay your attorney for the financial management course, it will be quicker for you to get your certificate and thereby improve your chances of getting your discharge.