How much does a bankruptcy lawyer cost?
Ashburn, VA

How much does a bankruptcy lawyer cost?

Ashburn, VA

How much does a bankruptcy lawyer cost?

$600 – $2,500 average fee (Chapter 7 bankruptcy)
$2,000 – $4,000 average fee (Chapter 13 bankruptcy)

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:

$600 – $2,500 average fee (Chapter 7 bankruptcy)

$2,000 – $4,000 average fee (Chapter 13 bankruptcy)

Get free estimates for your project or view our cost guide below:
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Jennifer Carlson
Written by
Jennifer Carlson
Edited by
Kristen Cramer
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Tara Farmer

Average bankruptcy lawyer price

A bankruptcy lawyer costs $600 to $2,500 on average for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and $2,000 to $4,000 or more for Chapter 13. The total cost to hire a bankruptcy attorney depends on their experience level, your location, and how complex your case is. Filing fees alone cost $313 to 338.

Average bankruptcy attorney cost
Bankruptcy type Average cost
Chapter 7 $600 – $2,500
Chapter 13 $2,000 – $4,000

  • Chapter 7 and 13 are the two types of bankruptcy available to individuals. Chapter 7 can be cheaper in the long term but stays on your credit report longer.

  • Both bankruptcy types help you discharge unsecured debt like personal loans, credit card debt, or medical bills.

  • Chapter 9 and 11 bankruptcies are for businesses or municipalities, and Chapter 12 is for family farms or fishing businesses.

Chapter 7

Bankruptcy attorneys charge $600 to $2,500 for Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases. During a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you liquidate your assets and pay off as much of your debt as possible. You can only file for Chapter 7 if you make less than your state’s median income or your debt is over $9,075.

You don’t have to sell or surrender everything to pay off your debts. These assets are usually exempt from Chapter 7 filings:

  • Child support and alimony

  • Wages you earn after filing

  • Your pension, if you have one

  • Your vehicle (in some cases)

  • Any 401(k) or retirement plans (up to $1 million)

  • Furniture, clothing, appliances, and other household goods

  • Your house’s equity (if it’s your primary residence)

  • Benefits like Social Security, unemployment, disability, or veterans’ benefits

Chapter 13

Bankruptcy attorneys charge $2,000 to $4,000 for Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases. This bankruptcy type is also known as a “wage earner’s plan” and includes making a 3- to 5-year payment plan instead of liquidating assets. Chapter 13 is essentially a strict court-ordered budget.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is helpful if you’re in danger of foreclosure and don’t want to lose your home. Chapter 7, on the other hand, can delay a foreclosure but can’t always prevent it.

Bankruptcy filing forms pictured with a calculator
Bankruptcy filing forms pictured with a calculator
Get free estimates from bankruptcy lawyers near you.

Bankruptcy attorney cost factors

The following factors may influence the cost to hire an attorney to help you file for bankruptcy:

  • Filing fees: On top of attorney fees, filing for bankruptcy costs $313 to $338 in court fees alone. You may be able to waive this fee or pay it in installments if your income is below a certain amount.

  • Experience: Lawyers with more experience and stellar reputations tend to charge more. A low-cost bankruptcy attorney may charge less but may not handle your case with the same level of care.

  • Credit counseling: Anyone considering filing for bankruptcy must go through credit counseling within 180 days before filing. This costs $0 to $50 per month and can help you avoid bankruptcy altogether if possible.

  • Type of debt: Some debts are non-dischargeable, which means they won’t go away even after declaring bankruptcy. Non-dischargeable debts include alimony, child support, taxes, and most student loans.

  • Location: Lawyers in areas like New York, California, or Washington D.C. usually charge more than those in small districts or less-populated states.

  • Income: If you have multiple sources of income or are also filing for a business bankruptcy, your case will be more complicated and may cost more.

Bankruptcy lawyer FAQs

Can I file bankruptcy without a lawyer?

You’re allowed to file bankruptcy pro se or without a lawyer, but you’re more likely to have a favorable outcome with one. Attorneys can file your paperwork accurately and quickly, avoiding delays. They can also help you decide which type of bankruptcy is best or find a way to avoid it.

When would I need a bankruptcy attorney?

There are many different reasons people accumulate unmanageable debt and hire a lawyer to help them file for bankruptcy. These reasons include:

  • Divorce

  • Medical bills

  • Unemployment

  • Unforeseen emergencies

  • Consumer credit card debt

What happens when you file for bankruptcy?

After you declare bankruptcy, it will stay on your credit report for 7 to 10 years. Your credit score will most likely drop by 150 to 250 points, which means you’re less likely to get approved for a house, car, apartment, loan, or credit card.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for up to 10 years before falling off. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy only stays for up to 7 years, but your score could rise before then if you make your payments on time.

How long do bankruptcy cases take?

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy case usually takes about 4 to 6 months, as long as there are no mistakes in the paperwork or major delays. If you have to sell property to pay off debt, it may cause a delay.

Chapter 13 cases take about 3 to 5 years, depending on the length of your court-ordered payment plan.

A legal gavel and bankruptcy filing forms
A legal gavel and bankruptcy filing forms

How to choose a bankruptcy lawyer

If you need help with the bankruptcy process, start by searching our list of bankruptcy lawyers. Meet with them in person to get a feel for them and follow these steps:

  • Compare 3 or more estimates from different law firms.

  • Read client reviews on Lawful and Google.

  • Choose an experienced attorney with a good reputation.

  • Verify they’ve passed the bar and are qualified to represent you in court.

  • Choose an attorney who makes you feel calm and secure.

  • Get a contract in writing before they begin any casework.

Questions to ask a bankruptcy lawyer

When looking for a bankruptcy attorney, ask these questions:

  • How much experience do you have with bankruptcy cases?

  • How long have you been filing for bankruptcy on behalf of clients?

  • How long do cases like mine usually take?

  • How long ago did you pass the bar?

  • Do you give free consultations?

  • Can you take on new clients right now?

  • Can you recommend any credit counseling services?

  • Do you charge an hourly rate or a flat rate?

  • Can you give me a contract in writing before we start?