Where Is The Cheapest Place To File For Bankruptcy?

Plenty of debtors ask this question, but bankruptcy fees are the same across the United States.

OK, it was a trick question: Although many people are looking for the cheapest place to file for bankruptcy, the filing fees are the same no matter where you file.

  • You'll file in the bankruptcy court located closest to where you live.
  • If you can't afford the fee, you can apply for a fee waiver or ask to pay in installments.
  • The filing fee is $338 for Chapter 7 and $313 for Chapter 13.

Read on for information about where to file and how to pay. You can also learn about timing your bankruptcy filing.

Where to File for Bankruptcy

Generally, you must file your bankruptcy case in the judicial district and state where you live or have your domicile. Your domicile is kind of like your permanent residence: It's the place where you receive mail, are registered to vote, get your driver's license, and intend to live permanently, even if you are temporarily living elsewhere (for example, you are posted overseas for business or have been deployed to military service in another country).

Some states have only one bankruptcy district; others have two, three, or four districts. To find the closest bankruptcy court, go to Bankruptcy in Your State and select your state from the list. There, you'll find information on your state's bankruptcy courts, including links to each district's website. Or use the federal Court Finder tool.

Waivers and Installment Payments

If you can't afford to pay the whole filing fee at once, you can ask the court to allow you to pay in installments. You make this request by filing Application for Individuals to Pay the Filing Fee in Installments (Form 103A) You can ask to pay in up to four installments, with the final installment due no later than 120 days after you file your bankruptcy petition. The court can extend this deadline by 60 days if you have a good reason, but your case may be dismissed if you haven't paid the full fee by 180 days after you initially file the petition.

If you plan to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can ask the court to waive the fee altogether by filing Application to Have the Chapter 7 Filing Fee Waived (Form 103B). To complete the form, you'll have to provide detailed information about your income, expenses, and other financial matters.

You can't apply for a fee waiver in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case. In Chapter 13, you have to repay your debts over time by coming up with a repayment plan and making monthly payments that the trustee will distribute among your creditors. If you can't come up with the filing fee, the court is unlikely to believe that you'll be able to make your required plan payments.

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