Understanding the Costs of Filing for Bankruptcy in Tennessee: A Comprehensive Guide

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Bankruptcy costs in Tennessee can be a complex process, requiring knowledge about both federal and state-specific regulations. The cost of filing for bankruptcy in Tennessee varies depending on the type of bankruptcy one is filing for. Typically, people in debt compare these two options bankruptcy vs debt settlement.


Types of Bankruptcy and Their Filing Fees

There are two primary types of personal bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Each comes with different filing costs:

  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: This is often referred to as liquidation bankruptcy. Some of your property may be sold to pay off your debts, but many forms of property are exempt from sale under state law. The court filing fee for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Tennessee is $338.
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: This is a reorganization bankruptcy. You keep your property, but you must make monthly payments over a 3-5 year period to repay all or some of your debts. The court filing fee for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Tennessee is $313.

These fees are set by the federal bankruptcy court system, not by individual states, so they are the same nationwide. If you cannot afford the filing fee, you can apply to pay it in installments or have it waived entirely.

Attorney Fees

Understanding the Costs of Filing for Bankruptcy in Tennessee: A Comprehensive Guide

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One of the most significant expenses in a bankruptcy filing is typically the attorney fees. These fees can vary widely depending on your location, the complexity of your case, and the attorney’s experience level.

In Tennessee, attorneys’ fees for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can range from $1,000 to $2,500, while for Chapter 13, they can range from $2,500 to $6,000. Remember, these are just averages; the actual cost can be higher or lower.

It’s important to find an attorney who is knowledgeable about bankruptcy law and has experience handling cases similar to yours. Many attorneys offer a free initial consultation, which can help you understand the potential cost and whether bankruptcy is the right option for you.

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Credit Counseling and Debtor Education

Before you can file for bankruptcy, you’re required to complete a credit counseling course. After filing, you must complete a debtor education course. These courses can be done online or by phone, and the cost for each course varies by provider, but it’s generally between $10 and $50. If you can’t afford the fee, you can request a waiver from the course provider.


In total, the cost of filing for bankruptcy in Tennessee, including filing fees, attorney fees, and mandatory course costs, can range from approximately $1,350 to $8,900. This does not include any additional costs that might arise during the process, such as fees for amending your bankruptcy forms or fees charged by a bankruptcy trustee.

Bankruptcy is a serious decision that comes with both benefits and consequences. While the cost may seem high, the financial relief provided by bankruptcy can far outweigh these initial expenses. Filing for bankruptcy can stop collection calls, eliminate certain debts, and give you a fresh financial start.

However, bankruptcy also has long-term financial consequences and should not be taken lightly. It’s recommended that you consult with a qualified bankruptcy attorney to fully understand the costs and benefits before deciding to file.


Understanding the Costs of Filing for Bankruptcy in Tennessee: A Comprehensive Guide 1

What is the average cost of filing for bankruptcy in Tennessee?

The cost of filing for bankruptcy in Tennessee can vary depending on the complexity of the case. However, the court filing fees are $338 for Chapter 7 and $313 for Chapter 13. Attorney fees can range anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500.

Can I waive the bankruptcy filing fee in Tennessee?

Yes, it is possible to have the bankruptcy filing fee waived in Tennessee if your income is less than 150% of the poverty level and you are unable to pay the fee in installments.

How does the means test affect the cost of bankruptcy in Tennessee?

The means test determines whether you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is generally cheaper than Chapter 13. If your income is too high, you may be required to file for Chapter 13, increasing the overall cost.

Are there additional costs associated with bankruptcy in Tennessee?

Yes, in addition to filing fees and attorney fees, there may be costs for mandatory credit counseling and debtor education courses. These typically range from $15 to $50 per course.

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How much can I expect to pay a bankruptcy attorney in Tennessee?

The cost of a bankruptcy attorney in Tennessee can greatly vary based on the complexity of your case, but typically ranges from $1,000 to $2,500.

Does filing for bankruptcy in Tennessee affect my credit score?

Yes, filing for bankruptcy will significantly impact your credit score. This can make it more difficult and expensive to obtain credit in the future.

Is it cheaper to file for bankruptcy without an attorney in Tennessee?

While it may seem cheaper to file without an attorney, the bankruptcy process is complex. Mistakes can be costly and may result in your bankruptcy petition being denied. Hiring an attorney can help ensure the process is handled correctly.

What is the difference in cost between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Tennessee?

The filing fee for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is $338, and for Chapter 13, it’s $313. However, attorney fees for Chapter 13 are generally higher due to the extended repayment plan and additional court appearances.

Can I pay for my bankruptcy in installments in Tennessee?

Yes, you can apply to pay the bankruptcy filing fee in installments. However, all fees must be paid within 120 days of filing your petition.

Can I avoid bankruptcy by using a debt management plan in Tennessee?

A debt management plan may help you avoid bankruptcy, but it depends on your specific financial situation. Such plans often involve negotiating with creditors to reduce your debt, which can have its own costs. It’s best to consult with a financial advisor or attorney to explore all your options.


  • Bankruptcy: A legal process where a person or business cannot repay their outstanding debts and seeks relief from some or all of their debts.
  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: A type of bankruptcy that involves the liquidation of a debtor’s non-exempt assets to pay off creditors.
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: A type of bankruptcy where the debtor proposes a payment plan to make installments to creditors over three to five years.
  • Trustee: A third party appointed by the court to manage the debtor’s assets during the bankruptcy process.
  • Credit Counseling: A requirement in the bankruptcy process where the debtor must obtain financial counseling from an approved agency.
  • Means Test: A method used to determine if a debtor qualifies for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, based on their income, expenses, and family size.
  • Automatic Stay: An injunction that automatically stops lawsuits, foreclosures, garnishments, and collection activity against the debtor.
  • Discharge: The elimination of debt through a bankruptcy case.
  • Exemptions: Laws that allow a debtor to protect certain kinds of property from creditors when filing for bankruptcy.
  • Liquidation: The sale of a debtor’s non-exempt property to pay off creditors in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
  • Secured Debt: Debt that is backed by a piece of property, like a car loan or a mortgage.
  • Unsecured Debt: Debt that does not have specific property serving as collateral, like credit card debt or medical bills.
  • Bankruptcy Code: The section of the United States Code that governs bankruptcy cases.
  • Creditors’ Meeting: A meeting where the creditors, trustee, and debtor come together to discuss the debtor’s assets and liabilities.
  • Equity: The value of a debtor’s property after liens and other debts are considered.
  • Lien: A legal claim against property to secure the payment of a debt.
  • Pro Se: Representing oneself in court, rather than hiring an attorney.
  • Reaffirmation Agreement: An agreement by a Chapter 7 debtor to continue paying a dischargeable debt after the bankruptcy, usually for the purpose of keeping collateral or mortgaged property.
  • Schedules: Detailed lists filed by the debtor along with (or shortly after filing) the petition showing the debtor’s assets, liabilities, and other financial information.
  • 341 Meeting: Also known as a creditors’ meeting, it is a mandatory meeting between the debtor and trustee where the debtor is asked questions about their bankruptcy forms and plan.

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