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Is it possible to file bankruptcy for free?

Filing bankruptcy is expensive and it cannot be filed for free. Under the new federal bankruptcy laws, credit counseling has been made mandatory. You are required to take credit counseling session at least 180 days prior to filing bankruptcy. And these classes are not free. You have to shell out approximately USD$60 for a class. However, through a waiver program, you can avoid paying for the credit counseling classes if you can prove that you have a very low income and if you have an attorney representing you from a free legal aid program.

Legal representation in bankruptcy is important

It is important to have legal representation and hiring a bankruptcy attorney can be a very expensive affair. You may be given an option of availing “free legal counsel” under a state program. This may prove to be very time consuming because you may be in a long queue and may have to wait for a considerable time period. In majority of the cases, chances of availing free legal counsel are rare.

Cost of filing

You cannot escape the cost of filing bankruptcy. You have to pay the “filing fee” to the clerk of the court when you file bankruptcy. Filing fee is the fee that you pay for the court. This is in addition to the cost of hiring an attorney. If you are planning to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy (liquidation), the amount you have to shell out is USD$299. The cost of filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy or repayment and reorganization plan is USD$274.

As far as the attorney fee is concerned, it varies from one case to another. It may range between USD$1000 and USD$2000. In some cases, attorneys may charge more if you ask them to accompany you for the 341 meeting. For instance, in Massachusetts, attorneys are required to be present for the 341 meeting. In case the attorney fails to do so, it will be concluded that he is not representing the debtor.

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