In Ohio, bankruptcy filing costs can vary widely depending on a number of variables. Some bankruptcy costs such as filing fees are fixed, but the largest variable cost in bankruptcy is your attorney's fees. The complexity of your case, the region of the state you live in and the chapter of bankruptcy you select all contribute to the range of possible attorney fees.
The cost of your bankruptcy filing is largely derived from attorney fees and filing expenses. Generally speaking, individuals filing for personal bankruptcy can expect to pay, at minimum, nearly $1,000.
Average Total Cost
Since there are so many variables as to the cost of your attorney, the range of average bankruptcy costs in Ohio is large. Factoring in court costs, attorney fees and miscellaneous expenses, your Ohio bankruptcy may range in cost from about $1,000 to more than $3,000. If you file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 business bankruptcy, your cost may increase to the tens of thousands of dollars. Bankruptcy court filing fees as of June 2018 for the most common types of bankruptcy are $335 for a Chapter 7 and $310 for a Chapter 13. These fees are increased every few years.
Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13
Chapter 7 is the most common type of consumer bankruptcy, and can often be the simplest. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy with no complications is often complete in just three to four months and requires little in the way of attention once the petition is successfully filed. A simple Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Ohio usually costs around $1,000 to $1,500.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy, on the other hand, is a long-term payment plan that requires the drafting of a successful plan and the approval of the court. Chapter 13 bankruptcies can run for up to five years and are far more involved than a Chapter 7. As a result, the typical Chapter 13 costs more than a Chapter 7, usually around $3,000 to $4,000 early in the case, with more fees likely throughout the remaining years of the case as circumstances may require your attorney to intervene in your case on your behalf.
Rural vs. Urban
All other factors being equal, attorneys in wealthy urban areas typically charge more than their counterparts in parts of rural Ohio. However, depending on the complexity of the case and the experience of the lawyer, even fees in rural Ohio may equal those in cities such as Cincinnati.
Asset vs. No-Asset Cases
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, you are allowed to exempt certain assets from liquidation to satisfy the demands of creditors. If you are able to successfully protect all of your assets using the state exemptions allowed in Ohio, your case is known as a "no-asset" case.
If your case involves assets above the allowable exemption limits, your case is an "asset" case and becomes more complex. In an asset case, the bankruptcy trustee seizes your non-exempt assets and sells them, generally resulting in a longer time until case closure. Asset cases require more attention and are therefore generally more expensive than no-asset cases.
John Csiszar earned a Certified Financial Planner designation and served for 18 years as an investment counselor before becoming a writing and editing contractor for various private clients. In addition to writing thousands of articles for various online publications, he has published five educational books for young adults.