What Does Filing for Bankruptcy in New Jersey Cost?
When things get tough, and you cannot continue paying your debts, filing for bankruptcy can help you get a fresh financial start. However, because the process is meant for those struggling with excessive debt and money issues, many people are surprised to learn that filing for bankruptcy is not free.
Yes, there are costs associated with the bankruptcy process, the foremost of which are the filing fees paid to file the bankruptcy petition and kickstart the bankruptcy proceedings. If you are considering Filing bankruptcy, you may wonder how much these filing fees cost. Since there are different types of bankruptcy, the answer to your question depends on the type of bankruptcy you wish to apply for.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Filing Fees
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is designed for individuals who do not have the means to pay their debts. In this type of personal bankruptcy, the bankruptcy trustee takes over the debtor’s assets, liquidates them or converts them to their cash value, and uses the amount recovered to pay off creditors. Any debt that remains unpaid after this is discharged. The debtor no longer has any obligation to pay it unless the debt is one imposed by law or a judge, such as taxes and child support payments.
Filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition in New Jersey costs $338 as of 2023. So, if you’re considering this type of bankruptcy, you need to pay this amount when you file your petition.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Filing Fees
Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows debtors who have a regular income to restructure or organize their debts and pay them off in regular installments. The main attraction for this type of bankruptcy is that the debtor gets to keep their assets as long as they continue to make payments when due.
The fee for filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition in New Jersey is $313 as of 2023.
What Happens if a Debtor Cannot Pay the Chapter 7 or 13 Filing Fee?
If you can’t afford to pay the bankruptcy filing fees at the time of filing your petition, there are options that could make things easier. If you’re a Chapter 7 debtor, you can apply for a fee waiver if your household income is below 150% of the rate set by the federal poverty guidelines for your type of household.
Alternatively, you may apply to the bankruptcy court to be able to pay the fee in four equal installments by filing the Application for Individuals to Pay the Filing Fee in Installments (Bankruptcy Form 103A) with your petition. The first installment must be paid when you file the petition, while the fourth must be paid within 120 days.
However, because Chapter 13 petitioners usually have a regular income, it is assumed that they can afford the filing fee; as such, the fees cannot be waived. But they can apply to pay the fees installment in the manner described above.
What Are Some Other Costs Associated With Filing Bankruptcy?
Credit Counseling Course Costs
Every bankruptcy petitioner is required to take credit counseling courses within 180 days before filing bankruptcy, with some exceptions. After completing the course, the certificate obtained from the course provider must be filed with the bankruptcy petition.
By law, credit counseling courses should cost at most $50. However, a course provider can charge a higher fee if they obtain approval from the United States Trustee Program. As such, it may be difficult to correctly determine how much credit counseling courses from different course providers cost.
Regardless, credit counseling fees can be waived or reduced depending on the provider’s policy and the extent of your inability to pay. So, you may not have to worry about paying the fees completely if you can’t afford it. All you need to do is contact an approved course provider near you to confirm the cost and the possibility of obtaining a waiver or reduction.
Debtor Education Course Costs
After filing your bankruptcy petition, you must take a debtor education course. Otherwise, your debt will not be discharged.
The rules surrounding debtor education course fees and waivers are the same as those for credit counseling courses. You can contact an approved course provider to confirm how much the course costs and whether you can get a waiver or fee reduction.
Bankruptcy Attorney Fees
If you’d like to be represented by a bankruptcy lawyer, you’ll need to factor in the attorney’s fees as you prepare for your case. Every attorney charges differently for their services depending on several factors, such as the complexity of the case and the extent of the attorney’s experience (more experienced attorneys tend to charge more). You’ll need to contact an attorney of your choice and discuss their fees with them.
A good rule of thumb for people in your position is to find an attorney who offers free consultation for new clients. You can discuss your case’s preliminary issues and fees at the consultation.
Even though you can file your bankruptcy petition and go through the process on your own, do not be discouraged from having an attorney represent you because of the fees attached to their services. Bankruptcy proceedings are complex, and people who choose to go it alone often make certain mistakes during the process because they do not fully understand how the laws work.
These Mistakes Made Before Filing for Bankruptcy or after can jeopardize the outcome of the process. Those who make them may need to file a new petition to get the much-needed debt relief, which could take some time.
But that doesn’t have to be you. Instead of taking chances, consider getting a bankruptcy attorney in New Jersey to represent you throughout your case. Bankruptcy attorneys understand how the laws on bankruptcy work. They can help you save time and money by avoiding those mistakes so you can go through the process once and for all.
Contact the Law Offices of Scott J. Goldstein, LLC, for Help With Your Bankruptcy Cas
Even though filing for bankruptcy involves certain expenses, you can minimize or avoid some costs by applying for a fee waiver or reduction and working with a skilled bankruptcy attorney. A bankruptcy attorney can help you file your petition correctly and help you explore any avenues for fee waivers so you can reduce or eliminate your debts as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
If you’re searching for a New Jersey bankruptcy attorney to help with your creditor and bankruptcy issues or have questions about getting started, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at the Law Offices of Scott J. Goldstein. Our law firm is committed to helping people like you navigate the personal bankruptcy process efficiently so that you do not spend more resources than needed while striving to get debt relief.
Each bankruptcy case is unique, so you can trust us to assess your case and offer you personalized solutions that fit your situation. Schedule a free consultation with us today to speak with one of our attorneys and discuss your concerns. Let us help you as you work toward achieving a debt-free reality.
Law Offices of Scott J. Goldstein, LLC | Copyright 2023 | All Rights Reserved