The burdensome cost of filing fees is the last thing on the mind of those who are considering bankruptcy. For most, this is simply due to the fact that the bankruptcy process comes alongside so many various stresses, making things like administrative matters and filing fees the least of your concern. For others, it’s simply unawareness that these filing fees exist in the first place.
Unfortunately, it’s true. To file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there is a $335 fee. It is possible that there may be other fees involved in your bankruptcy, for example, if you find yourself needing to reproduce a recording of the proceeding or do a record search, but the $335 fee is faced by anyone who wishes to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy… unless you’re deemed eligible for a Chapter 7 fee waiver.
A Chapter 7 fee waiver can give you the opportunity to save a lot of money in your bankruptcy proceeding. Today, we’re taking a look at a five things anyone thinking of bankruptcy should know about Chapter 7 fee waivers.
- You Will Have To Apply
While there are few who actually file bankruptcy without being in dire financial stress, Chapter 7 fee waivers are not given automatically. In order to actually obtain your fee waiver, you’ll have to fill out a substantial application.
The application includes various questions about your current financial and living situation, such as the size of your family, your family’s average monthly income, your family’s average monthly expenses, and more. You will also have to be prepared to tell the court how much money you have in cash as well as in any and all of your bank accounts.
- Your Application Must Be Consistent
You will be filling out the application under penalty of perjury, is extremely important that the information you provide on the application is true and accurate to the best of your knowledge.
The application will be filed alongside your bankruptcy petition and all of the information you provide on it should be consistent with the information provided on your bankruptcy schedules. If the information you provide is inconsistent with the information available on your bankruptcy schedules (such as Schedule I, Schedule J, and Schedule A/B), you will be much less likely to receive a fee waiver.
- You Will Have To Meet Certain Financial Requirements
Not everyone is eligible for a fee waiver. In order to qualify for the fee waiver, your household income must be 150% of the federal poverty guideline or less. The poverty guidelines are published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The maximum household income you are allowed in order to remain eligible for a fee waiver depends on the current federal poverty level and the number of people in your family unit (the people that you support). If you find that you need assistance finding this number for your situation, a bankruptcy specialist will be able to guide you through the process more thoroughly.
- You May Be Able To Pay Back In Installments
Another requirement for the Chapter 7 fee waiver is that you must not be able to pay the fee in installments over the 120 days (four months) following your filing date. If the court reviews at your financial information and finds that you will have the funds to pay the filing fee over the next 120 days, the judge may decide that you are eligible for the monthly installment plan as opposed to the total fee waiver.
- You May Not Receive A Waiver
The court is not obligated to waive your fee. In fact, the court has the option of granting your fee waiver, scheduling the matter for a hearing that will allow you to explain the matter further, order a payment schedule (as outlined above), or deny the fee waiver all together.
While the bankruptcy filing fee may not seem like too much money in the grand scheme of things, saving this money can make a big difference throughout the bankruptcy process and even in the end. If you are looking for guidance to make sure your bankruptcy is done right, contact our Colorado bankruptcy specialists today.
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