Can I File for Bankruptcy for Free?

Filing for bankruptcy can sometimes be an expensive process. A common question asked by debtors is if they can file for a reduced cost or for free. Oftentimes, the simple answer is no. Still, depending on your financial situation, you may be able to avoid certain costs.

The main cost in filing for bankruptcy is the court fees. There are waivers available to bypass the filing costs, but unless you are extremely low income, you are very unlikely to get one. Court fees are just a cost that almost everyone must pay.

As part of the bankruptcy process, you will have to meet with a credit counseling agency. As part of this process, you may have to take classes, which will not be free. However, this cost can be avoided, depending on the agreement you have worked out between your agency and potentially your attorney. Still, the cost of classes is smaller than the cost of filing for bankruptcy, and the classes are worth the payment.

A key decision in filing for bankruptcy is whether you will hire an attorney to assist you through the process. Unless you have sufficient knowledge of the bankruptcy laws in your area, my recommendation is that you always hire an attorney. Although they are expensive, they may save you much more money in the long run through their knowledge of the law and by guiding you down the right path throughout your bankruptcy proceedings. It is better to spend money now and be sure that your bankruptcy filing will work out the best for your future rather than risking it and potentially harming yourself.

If nothing else, you can start with free services and work from there. There are free services that may help you decide whether bankruptcy is right for you, and all the additional information you have will be useful. Still, you will probably have to pay somewhere along the process, since the odds of having the fees for filing and classes waived is unlikely, and not hiring an attorney can be risky. Again, you may be better off paying now and having a secure future rather than risking it and making a mistake.

See also: Alternatives to Bankruptcy

Graham Billings

Graham Billings

Graham Billings is a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a double major in Economics and Political Science. He plans to graduate in December of 2009 and then attend law school in the fall of 2010. He is a member of the Economics Club at Carolina, which brings in speakers and hosts events in order to discuss current economic issues and help those who do not have a background in economics become more familiar with it. He is a National Merit Scholar and Dean’s List recipient. He is originally from Greensboro, North Carolina and attended the Early College at Guilford for high school, taking classes at Guilford College. In addition to economics, his academic interests include the legal and political system. He headed the only student-run, high school-level Honor Court in high school and participated in a national model Congress in San Francisco, run by Harvard students, and won awards of excellence for his work on the mock Supreme Court. Additionally, he tutors Carolina students in economics on a volunteer basis.
Graham Billings

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