If you are falling behind on credit card payments, being constantly harassed by creditors or collection agencies, or thinking about filing for bankruptcy, you are probably first weighing how much it actually costs to file bankruptcy in Arkansas. Although the court fees associated with filing bankruptcy are set by the state in which you file, attorney’s fees are up to the discretion of the attorney you hire to represent you. Depending on the type of bankruptcy you wish to file and the complexity of your case, the amount you could potentially pay for help in your bankruptcy proceedings will vary.
Chapter 7 vs Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
When you’re filing for bankruptcy, chances are you’ve heard that you can file for one of two types of bankruptcies: Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may be able to completely liquidate your debt. Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to settle a repayment plan with your creditors to repay a portion or all of your debts while under protection of the bankruptcy court. The property and other assets you can exempt from your bankruptcy filing depends largely on whether you choose to file under Arkansas bankruptcy exemptions or those offered under federal exemptions.
Court Fees for Filing Bankruptcy
In Arkansas, as of 2014, bankruptcy court fees are set at $310 for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing and $335 for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. This is a fee you must pay in addition to any attorney’s fees. This fee pays for the bankruptcy court filing itself and is non-refundable. If you hire an attorney to reopen a bankruptcy case or change the chapter of a bankruptcy filing, expect to pay an additional fee. Note that if you are unemployed or in a particularly tight financial situation, you may be able to waive your fee or pay it off in installments.
Attorney Fees for Filing Bankruptcy
There is no set cost for Arkansas bankruptcy attorneys, no matter the type of bankruptcy you intend to file. However, your attorney’s fee has to be disclosed to the bankruptcy court in your state and approved by a judge just to make sure the fees are reasonable in your case. Every bankruptcy case is different, and therefore, your lawyer may charge anywhere from $500 to $6,000+ depending on the complexity of your case.
Nationally, most attorneys’ fees for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy amount to a flat fee between $500 and $3,500 and require payment before the case is filed.
For a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, attorney’s fees vary according to the court’s guidelines for the amount of work required. You can expect to pay between $2,500 and $6,000 or more. Higher amounts are usually reserved for larger businesses or individuals with many assets, so most consumers can expect an attorney’s fee on the lower end of this spectrum. In contrast with a Chapter 7 filing, if you file Chapter 13, your attorney may ask for a portion of their fee upfront and then add the remaining fee into your scheduled repayment plan.
What About Low Cost Bankruptcy Advertisements?
You may have seen ads for low-cost bankruptcy attorneys, but be careful. Some of these low-cost attorneys will get quote your case at a lower rate and then charge more as the bankruptcy filing proceeds. They may charge you extra if you file jointly with your spouse, if you have debt that is higher than what their initial fee will cover, or if you have more creditors then an arbitrary limit they set. These charges are often for items only intended to increase your bill, but usually do not increase the workload for the attorney.
The amount an attorney charges is not indicative of the quality of the work being performed in helping you with your bankruptcy proceedings. Many lawyers provide a free initial consultation, which allows you to meet with your prospective attorney and determine if they are the right fit for you.
If you are looking for help from a bankruptcy attorney in Arkansas, contact Nolan Caddell Reynolds at 866-242-0452. With offices in Rogers and Fort Smith, we can help answer any questions you have about filing for bankruptcy in Arkansas.