By Kitty J. Lin
Due to the increased cost of living, you have already experienced increased prices everywhere – from the price of gas to the price of food and the overall increase of prices for all items. Well, it appears that the bankruptcy courts are no different. Starting November 1, 2011, a lot of the fees related to filing documents in your bankruptcy case will be increasing. The most important ones that are relevant to you are the fees to file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case. The Judicial Conference of the United States adopted new court fee schedules. On November 1, 2011, your Chapter 7 bankruptcy court filing fees will increase from $299 to $306. Your Chapter 13 bankruptcy court filing fees will increase from $274 to $281. This means that if you wanted to file a bankruptcy case, it may be more beneficial for you to file on or before October 31, 2011 before the price increases. Although it is only a seven dollar ($7) increase, every penny counts. A mere $7 could buy you a satisfying meal.
If you have already retained an attorney to represent you in your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, it would be advisable to pay your fees in full or provide them with the necessary paperwork to file your case as soon as possible so that you do not owe more money to your attorneys.
For those of you who have already filed your bankruptcy case, this price increase does not affect you, as it is for people that file new bankruptcy cases after November 1, 2011.
Additionally, people whom seek to file fee waivers for their bankruptcy filing fee are still subject to the same rules prior to the fee increase. Whether or not you qualify for a fee waiver always depends on the circumstances. A judge will not grant a fee waiver unless your income is less than 150% of the poverty level and you cannot afford to pay the fee in installments. Even if you do not qualify for the fee waiver, the judge may potentially grant your application to pay the increased filing fee in installments.
Besides filing fees for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, another fee increase that may be relevant to you is the fees for filing an amendment to your Schedules D, E, F and Creditor Matrix in your bankruptcy case. The fees have increased from $26 to $30. Thus, if you know you have to amend those schedules in your case, make the amendments prior to November 1, 2011 so you do not have to pay the increased fee!