The Bankruptcy Court in Detroit where all cases in Southeast Michigan are filed, charges various fees for filing documents with the Court including fees for some motions, reopening of cases and of course the filing of bankruptcy petitions under Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. These fees are the same throughout the United States because bankruptcy is a federal law. The filing fees are essential to the bankruptcy system as the court uses them to run the Court. The filing fees are usually paid at the time the bankruptcy case is filed, however, the court does allow the filing fees to be paid after the case is filed as well.
To help defray the initial up-front costs for our clients in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, we often will file a motion for installment payments for the Court filing fee which are routinely granted by the bankruptcy judges in our district. The Order typically directs the debtor or person filing the case to pay the filing fee by a date which is typically six to twelve weeks after the bankruptcy case is filed. The bankruptcy court clerk will mail a copy of the Order to our clients, and our office does the same, and sends email reminders as well. It is very important to follow the Order. The judge will not grant the bankruptcy discharge if the filing fees have not been paid. In reality, most of my clients pay the filing fee at their Court hearing, which is approximately one month after the bankruptcy case is filed.
Presently, the Chapter 7 filing fee is $338. A typical application or motion to pay the filing fee in installments will ask the judge to allow payment of the filing fee a couple months after the bankruptcy case is filed. The Order will specify that the fee must be paid by a date certain. The court will accept any amount of payment that you make, and they can be paid as often as you want, so long as the $338 is paid in full by the due date in the Order. Because so much financial pressure is lifted as soon as the bankruptcy case is filed, my clients usually do not have a problem paying the filing fee to the court.
How to Pay the Filing Fee to the Bankruptcy Court in Detroit
OPTION #1. PAY IN PERSON- If paying in person, you can pay by cash (exact change only-the clerk will not make change), money order or certified check (NO PERSONAL CHECKS, CREDIT CARDS or DEBIT CARDS will be accepted by the bankruptcy court clerk). Be sure to write your full name and bankruptcy case number on all money orders or cashier’s checks. The Detroit Bankruptcy Court cashier is located on the 21st Floor Bankruptcy Intake office at 211 West Fort Street, Detroit Michigan 48226 (the same building as your court hearing). To access the 21st Floor, you need to go through the security guard check-point with a metal detector similar to airport security (no pocket knives!). Be sure to bring government issued picture identification such as your driver’s license as you will need this to get through security. Give your name and be sure to provide the clerk your bankruptcy case number. They will give you a receipt for your payment. The bankruptcy court office is open from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm Monday through Friday. The phone number is (313)-234-0065, press 1 to speak to a court clerk. The bankruptcy court also has a drop box to drop off payments which will be processed the same day.
OPTION #2-BY UNITED STATES MAIL- If paying by mail, be sure to get a money order or certified check made payable to the US Bankruptcy Court and clearly put your name, address and your bankruptcy case number in the memo or remitter line and mail it to:
United States Bankruptcy Court
211 West Fort Street 17th Floor
Detroit MI 48226
It is important that you adhere to the Court Order and pay in full by due date. The goal of a bankruptcy petition is to get a Discharge of your debt. The bankruptcy Judge will not grant the Discharge if filing fees remain outstanding. If the filing fee is not paid in full by the due date, the Court will issue what is called an Order to Show Cause Why The Bankruptcy Case Should Not Be Dismissed For Failure To Pay The Filing Fee which will require you to appear before the Court and could result in the complete dismissal of the case.
OPTION #3-PAY YOUR ATTORNEY-
The Bankruptcy Court will accept credit card payments from attorneys who wish to pay the filing fee on behalf of their clients.