The Answer: It Depends
How much your bankruptcy will cost depends upon the chapter you file under and the attorney you hire. Some costs like credit counseling and credit reports are minimal and fairly standard. However, the primary costs like the attorney will vary greatly among lawyers. Some lawyers are extremely cheap. For instance, some low cost attorneys charge as little as $500 for representation in chapter 7 bankruptcy. Unfortunately, many clients get what they pay for and can be left with flawed documents and debts after bankruptcy. On the other hand, some bankruptcy attorneys are very expensive and charge more than $3,000 for average chapter 7 bankruptcies.
The Chapter You Select
Chapter 13 is often more expensive than chapter 7. Chapter 13 requires a longer period of representation and more paperwork. Furthermore, many courts have set maximum “no look” fees that attorneys can charge for representation in chapter 13 bankruptcy. The end result of these “no look” fee guidelines is that almost all bankruptcy attorneys charge the same “no look” fee. However, the amount you have to pay upfront rather than finance through the chapter 13 plan can change between attorneys.
Not all bankruptcy attorneys are skilled, and not all bankruptcy attorneys charge the same price. Some attorneys are expensive due to heavy advertising while others are more expensive because they have a good sales pitch. If you are going to spend a lot of money on a bankruptcy attorney consider hiring a certified bankruptcy specialist. If you don’t have a lot of money but want effective representation consider hiring a more affordable bankruptcy attorney. An affordable bankruptcy attorney will charge a little over $1,000 excluding the filing fee.