Most bankruptcy fees are set by federal law. This means that they are standard across all states, including Indiana. However, some costs vary, depending on the complexity of your case and your income level.
The federal bankruptcy code sets the filing fee at $245 for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and $235 for a Chapter 13. Filing fees must be paid in cash or by guaranteed means such as cashier's check, money order or attorney check. You can pay Chapter 7 filing fees in installments if your income is below the median in Indiana. As of this publication, that amount is $42,716. Chapter 13 filers do not have the option of paying in installments and must submit full payment at the time of filing.
Attorneys set their own fees for representing petitioners in bankruptcy, so there's no uniform price in this area. Some charge a flat fee for representing bankruptcy cases, while others collect payment on an hourly basis. The fee also may vary depending on how complicated your bankruptcy case is. Filers with a lot of assets often require more work for the attorney, and the subsequent fees usually reflect this. Indiana bankruptcy attorney Peter Francis Geraci states that attorney fees for bankruptcy cases range from $500 to $5,000, making it difficult to pinpoint an accurate average. Request quotes from multiple lawyers to get a better idea of how much a bankruptcy attorney will cost you. You also can contact an Indiana legal aid organization for free or low-cost assistance with your case.
To file for bankruptcy in Indiana, you first must complete a court-approved credit counseling course. Such courses usually cost between $25 and $50, but filers with sub-median income can receive a waiver of this fee. Next, fill out the bankruptcy petition. Your lawyer provides this document to you, but you also can download a copy of the bankruptcy petition from the U.S. courts website. This multi-page document consists of schedules in which you enter information about your household and finances. Finally, submit the petition to the court clerk and pay the filing fee.
Lauren Treadwell studied finance at Western Governors University and is an associate of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. Treadwell provides content to a number of prominent organizations, including Wise Bread, FindLaw and Discover Financial. As a high school student, she offered financial literacy lessons to fellow students.