Bankruptcy is a tool available to South Carolinians overwhelmed by debt. It can help you and your family get out from under the burden of mounting interest and principal and start fresh. However, bankruptcy itself is not free.
Filing fees and credit counseling
To start with, both Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy require you to pay a fee to file in court. The basic filing fee for Chapter 7, also known as liquidation bankruptcy, is $245. The basic fee for filing for Chapter 13, or reorganization bankruptcy, is $235. The court will charge other fees as you move through bankruptcy.
As part of the bankruptcy process, the judge generally orders you to participate in credit counseling. Many nonprofit organizations offer this service for free, but if a free version is unavailable, you may have to spend at least $79 for a course.
How bankruptcy attorneys make their fees affordable
Then there are attorneys fees. Every bankruptcy case is different. Some people have relatively simple debt problems that their attorneys can work out with creditors fairly quickly. Other cases take longer and require more of the attorney’s time researching the law and dealing with creditors and the court. Most people should budget to spend at least $700 in attorneys fees, but the final bill could reach $2,000 or more.
Fortunately, most bankruptcy law firms recognize that you need their help when you are struggling financially. Bankruptcy lawyers typically offer free initial consultations with no obligation to hire them. You can meet with them and discuss the details of bankruptcy relief confidentially and at no cost. Also, many bankruptcy firms offer flexible payment plans to fit your budget.
An experienced and dedicated bankruptcy attorney will work tirelessly to resolve your case as efficiently and inexpensively as possible. Used properly, personal bankruptcy protection is an investment in your future that pays dividends over the next few years — both financially and emotionally.