How much does it cost to file Bankruptcy in Michigan?
My office takes great pride in offering quality Consumer Bankruptcy services in Metro Detroit while charging very reasonable attorney fees. The following reflects the fees I charge for most of my typical bankruptcy cases. Every case is unique and some cases involve substantial attorney time or particular expertise.
The fees and costs below apply to most Individual or Joint (husband & wife) cases.
If you are faced with overwhelming debt, doing nothing and simply letting the creditors rack up interest charges and additional collection fees will cost you much more in the long run than simply hiring an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can help you manage your debt. Compared to other options like trying to work out monthly payment options or letting your creditors line up to garnish your wages, it is actually very inexpensive to hire my office to help you obtain a Federal Court order that “discharges” or wipes out the debt that you cannot afford to pay. I am a board-certified specialist in consumer bankruptcy filings in Michigan and have filed over 20,000 cases in the metro Detroit area.
To file a bankruptcy case in Michigan, there are three main costs:
1. The United States Bankruptcy Court charges a filing fee which is $338 for a Chapter 7 and $313 for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
2. Pre-bankruptcy counseling certificates (which can be done online or on the phone in my office) needed before filing and a pre-discharge educational certificate (again can be done online or on the phone) which must be completed before your Bankruptcy Judge can grant you a Discharge of your debt. Both of these requirements can be completed in my office and typically cost $50 to $60 for both mandatory certificates.
3. Legal fees to your bankruptcy lawyer. For most of my cases, I charge flat fees that cover all work needed to handle your case from start to finish. Some cases are more complicated than others, and you will be quoted an exact cost at your initial consultation. So that I can better determine the fee for your particular case, please complete my bankruptcy starter packet and bring this to your free consultation. For most cases, my fees are in the range of:
- $499 to $799 attorney fee for a typical Chapter 7. Additional fees may apply for cases involving creditor actions such as garnishments, car seizure, lots of recent credit usage, potential fraud issues, valuable assets that need protection, or other similar reasons.
- $3,500 flat attorney fee for most Chapter 13 reorganization bankruptcy cases. I generally require ZERO down before filing a Chapter 13 if you are employed.
Most of my clients can easily afford to pay their own bankruptcy filing fees in affordable monthly installments. If needed, I will file a motion asking the bankruptcy judge to allow you to pay the filing fee after the case is filed. I generally let my clients take up to one year to pay the fees. I am happy to work with you to set up payments that you can easily afford so you can truly get the fresh financial start that a bankruptcy discharge can give you.
As with most courts in the United States, the bankruptcy court allows you to represent yourself in the filing of a petition for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This is true in Michigan bankruptcy courts as well. Consumer bankruptcy law is quite complex, and it is never recommended that you file in pro per, or by yourself. The investment in an experienced consumer bankruptcy lawyer is always worth the nominal attorney fees charged. Over my more than 25 years experience in consumer bankruptcy law, I have seen many cases in which an individual tried to save some money by filing without an attorney, only for their case to quickly head in the wrong direction and ultimately cost them far more in lost assets to creditors and the trustee, then had they consulted with and hired an experienced bankruptcy attorney, who could’ve helped them preserve or exempt their assets from the hands of the bankruptcy trustee and creditors. Michigan bankruptcy law is even more complex than most states as Michigan allows you to choose between either the federal exemption scheme or our own state of Michigan bankruptcy exemptions, and this choice sometimes requires lengthy legal analysis.
Many prospective bankruptcy clients are of the mistaken belief that bankruptcy attorneys charge exorbitant fees and that they cannot afford an attorney and unfortunately seek help from what can oftentimes be disreputable individuals holding themselves out as bankruptcy paralegals or offering bankruptcy filing services. In most circumstances, the only experience these people have is the fact that they filed a prior petition, usually with the help of an attorney and think they now have the experience to help others file bankruptcy. By law, a non-attorney who assists a person in filing bankruptcy, cannot charge more than $100 and cannot provide legal advice, because they are not licensed and therefore are not qualified to give legal advice. Nevertheless, many individuals violate the law and hold themselves out as qualified bankruptcy counselors. Believe it or not, the fees they charge are often more than the prevailing rates charged by experienced bankruptcy attorneys in the area, and the inept services they provide often result in the unsuspecting debtor losing assets or having their case dismissed because it was not prepared correctly or both. They cannot represent you in Court and typically will instruct people to lie to the Trustee when they are asked if anyone helped them prepare their petition. The bankruptcy court in Detroit maintains a list of people that the United States Department of Justice has determined are prohibited from giving legal advice and assisting people in filing bankruptcy which can be found on the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan’s website. Steer clear of these individuals and hire competent bankruptcy counsel. An attorney experienced in Michigan bankruptcy law is always well worth the nominal attorney fees charged.
The fees involved in filing of a bankruptcy petition generally consist of attorney fees, US Bankruptcy Court filing fees, and nominal costs associated with the required pre-filing credit counseling briefing and pre-discharge better educational course certificates. I also charge a nominal fee to pull a bankruptcy specific credit report which is very useful in that it often provides the legal department, collection department or preferred mailing address of the creditors for purposes of mailing the bankruptcy court notices as well as the bankruptcy discharge order once that is granted by the judge. Other law firms simply rely on the client to provide them with a list of their creditors, rather than taking the extra effort of obtaining their client’s credit report. In virtually every bankruptcy case that I’ve ever handled, I have found additional creditors or collection agencies that my clients did not know about at the time they came to see me after I pulled their credit report.
We can help you get that Fresh Financial Start you need!
As a Board Certified Detroit Michigan Bankruptcy Attorney I have personally represented over 20,000 Michigan residents file bankruptcy in the Detroit Bankruptcy Court. My office handles only consumer bankruptcy cases, and when you come to your first consultation, you will not meet with a legal assistant, but an experienced attorney. I provide free consultations and will offer you all of the available options. I specialize in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases in Michigan.