COST OF BANKRUPTCY
FILING FEE = $335.00 (cannot be waived when you hire an attorney, regardless of income)
ATTORNEY'S FEES = $700.00 (very few reputable lawyers in St. Louis, St. Charles, or Jefferson county charge less than this for chapter 7)
TOTAL TO FILE = $1,035.00
In chapter 7, although the amount attorneys fees will vary from office to office, court fees are always the same. Also, court fees and attorney's fees are always paid up front to the attorney prior to filing. Attorneys are required to take these payments up front because they are prohibited by law from collecting payments from you after you file. When we file your case we pay the filing fee online from our firm's account. This is the way the fees work with all lawyers who file chapter 7.
FILING FEE = $310.00
UP FRONT* ATTORNEY'S FEES = $200.00 (*All attorneys in chapter 13 are paid over time through your monthly plan payments to the court. The two questions to ask are 1. What does the attorney charge up front to file the case? and 2. Does the attorney accept the flat fee set by Missouri law at $4,800.00 total, or do they charge an hourly rate that will add up to more than that? We take the flat fee set by law, (unless your income is limited to Social Security or SSI, in which case we will accept less). We collect $200.00 of that flat fee up front for our time and effort to prepare a case, and then we receive the remaining $4,600.00 over the course of the 3 to 5 years of monthly payments to the court.
TOTAL TO FILE = $510.00
Although the attorney's fees in chapter 13 are substantial, most people save much more than they pay in fees via lowered interest rates on secured debts, no interest accumulation on other debts, and payment plans that do not pay anything back on unsecured, non-priority debts (which are discharged at the end of a chapter 13 bankruptcy whether they get paid or not). $4,600 over 36 months comes to $127.78 per month average. $4,600.00 over 60 months comes to $76.67 per month average. The other consideration is that the success rate of chapter 13's filed pro se (meaning without a lawyer) in St. Louis is 0% (statistic provided by BAMSL - Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis).
FORMS OF PAYMENT ACCEPTED:
MONEY ORDER / CASHIER'S CHECK