Filing for bankruptcy in Missouri is a significant decision that should not be taken lightly. It involves complex legal processes and can have long-lasting financial implications. People in debt typically compare these two options bankruptcy vs debt settlement.
It’s crucial to be aware that bankruptcy can significantly impact your credit score and could remain on your credit report for up to ten years. Before deciding to file, consider seeking advice from a qualified Missouri bankruptcy attorney who can guide you through the process and help you understand the potential consequences.
Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: An Overview
The two most common types of personal bankruptcy in the United States are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Each type has different procedures, benefits, and costs.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy, often referred to as “liquidation bankruptcy,” involves the sale of a debtor’s non-exempt assets to repay creditors. It’s typically suitable for those with little to no disposable income.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 bankruptcy, on the other hand, is known as “reorganization bankruptcy.” Debtors with regular income can use Chapter 13 bankruptcy to create a repayment plan to pay off their debts over three to five years while keeping their assets.
The Cost of Filing Bankruptcy in Missouri
The cost of filing bankruptcy primarily includes court filing fees and attorney fees, along with some additional costs.
Court Filing Fees
According to the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, the court filing fee for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is $338, while for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it’s $313.
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Attorney fees can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the case, the attorney’s experience, and the region. On average, attorney fees for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Missouri range from $1,000 to $2,500, while for Chapter 13, they can range from $2,500 to $6,000.
In addition to the filing and attorney fees, debtors must also complete credit counseling and debtor education courses. These courses usually cost between $20 and $50 each.
Fee Waivers and Installments
For individuals who cannot afford the filing fee, the court may waive the fee altogether or allow them to pay in installments. However, these options are only available to those who meet specific income criteria.
While filing for bankruptcy in Missouri can provide a path out of debt, it’s important to remember that the process comes with its own costs. Debtors should consider court filing fees, attorney fees, and additional costs like credit counseling when calculating the total cost. If you’re considering bankruptcy, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to fully understand these costs and navigate the process effectively.
How much does it cost to file for bankruptcy in Missouri?
The filing fee for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Missouri is $338 and for Chapter 13, it is $313. These fees are set by the federal bankruptcy court.
Are there any additional costs to filing for bankruptcy other than the filing fee?
Yes, in addition to the filing fee, you may also need to pay for credit counseling and debtor education courses, which can cost between $20 and $100 each.
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Can the bankruptcy filing fee be waived?
In some cases, if your income is below 150% of the federal poverty level, you may qualify for a fee waiver when filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
How much does a bankruptcy attorney cost in Missouri?
Attorney fees can vary widely, but for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can expect to pay between $1,000 and $2,500, and for Chapter 13, between $2,500 and $6,000.
Are there any hidden costs to filing for bankruptcy?
Not typically, but the costs can increase if your case is complicated and requires additional court hearings or motions. It’s important to discuss potential costs with your attorney upfront.
Can I pay the bankruptcy filing fees in installments?
Yes, the court may allow you to pay the bankruptcy filing fee in up to four installments, but the full payment must be made within 120 days of filing.
What is the cost of credit counseling and debtor education courses?
These are required courses for bankruptcy filers. Each course can cost between $20 and $100.
Is hiring an attorney necessary for filing bankruptcy?
While it’s possible to file bankruptcy on your own, it’s often recommended to hire an attorney due to the complexity of bankruptcy laws. An attorney can guide you through the process and help avoid any potential pitfalls.
Are there any additional costs if I want to switch from Chapter 13 to Chapter 7, or vice versa?
If you decide to switch your bankruptcy type, the court will charge a conversion fee. The fee for converting from Chapter 13 to Chapter 7 is $25, and from Chapter 7 to Chapter 13 is $922.
What are the consequences if I can’t afford the costs of filing for bankruptcy?
If you can’t afford the costs of filing for bankruptcy, you should discuss your options with a bankruptcy attorney or a non-profit credit counseling agency. They may be able to help you find alternatives to bankruptcy or assist you in getting the fees waived.
- Bankruptcy: A legal process where a person or entity declares inability to pay off debts and seeks relief from some or all debts.
- Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Also known as straight or liquidation bankruptcy, it involves the sale of a debtor’s non-exempt property and the distribution of the proceeds to creditors.
- Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: A form of bankruptcy that allows individuals with regular income to create a plan to repay all or part of their debts over a period of three to five years.
- Credit Counseling: A compulsory session for bankruptcy filers, providing advice on budgeting and other financial matters.
- Debtor Education Course: A course that individuals must complete after filing for bankruptcy but before debts can be discharged.
- Means Test: A calculation used to determine if a debtor is eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, based on income, expenses, and family size.
- Automatic Stay: An injunction that automatically becomes effective upon filing for bankruptcy, stopping most collection activities against the debtor.
- Bankruptcy Petition: The document filed to initiate a bankruptcy case.
- Exempt Property: Certain property that a debtor is allowed to keep in bankruptcy, typically necessary for maintaining a home and job.
- Non-Exempt Property: Assets that are not protected by exemptions and can be sold to pay off creditors in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
- Bankruptcy Trustee: An individual appointed by the court to administer the debtor’s estate, review the bankruptcy documents, and liquidate non-exempt assets if necessary.
- Discharge: A court order that releases the debtor from personal liability for specific debts, effectively wiping them out in bankruptcy.
- Schedules: Detailed lists of the debtor’s assets, liabilities, income, and expenses that are submitted to the court when filing for bankruptcy.
- Bankruptcy Estate: All legal and equitable interests of the debtor in property at the time of the bankruptcy filing.
- Unsecured Debt: Debt that is not backed by collateral, such as credit card debt or medical bills.
- Secured Debt: Debt backed by collateral, such as a mortgage or car loan.
- Creditors’ Meeting: A meeting where the bankruptcy trustee and creditors can ask the debtor questions about his or her financial situation and bankruptcy papers.
- Reaffirmation Agreement: An agreement that a debtor can enter into with a creditor to remain liable and continue paying a dischargeable debt following the bankruptcy, usually for secured debts like car loans.
- Conversion: Changing from one chapter of bankruptcy to another, such as from Chapter 7 to Chapter 13.
- Financial Management Course: Also known as debtor education, it’s a course that individuals must complete after filing for bankruptcy but before debts can be discharged.