By Kitty J. Lin
If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy protection from your creditors you should be aware that the bankruptcy filing fees are increasing effective June 1, 2014. Here is a list of increased fees that may affect you:
Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing fee will increase from $306 to $335
Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing fee will increase from $1,213 to $1,717
Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing fee will increase from $1,213 to $1,717
Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing fee will increase from $1,046 to $1,550
Chapter 12 bankruptcy filing fee will increase from $246 to $275
Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing fee will increase from $281 to $310
Chapter 15 bankruptcy filing fee will increase from $1,213 to $1,717
Adversary Proceeding filing fee will increase from $293 to $350.
If you want to bifurcate your bankruptcy case (meaning if you filed the petition with another person and you now want to split up the case) the fees have increased as well. The filing fees are essentially the same as above. For example, to bifurcate or split a Chapter 7 case the filing fee will be $335. To bifurcate or split a Chapter 13 case the fee will be $310. You will be essentially paying double to split a case (once when the case was filed and once when you bifurcate or split the case).
This may not be an exhaustive list of all the increased fees. There may be other increased fees that may affect you. You should contact your bankruptcy attorney or check the court’s website if you want to see what other fees have changed. The fee schedule is applicable to the Northern and Eastern Districts of California. Other jurisdictions may change their bankruptcy filing fees as well. You should check your jurisdiction’s website to verify if the fees have changed.
The last time the court increased the bankruptcy filing fees was back in December 2013. The fees have increased again after 18 months. If you retained the services of a bankruptcy lawyer previously, but your bankruptcy case is not filed yet, you should ensure your case is filed by the end of May to avoid the increased bankruptcy filing fees in the Northern and Eastern District Bankruptcy Courts.
If you can not file until after June 1, 2014, do not be surprised that you now have to pay more to file your bankruptcy case. If your retained a lawyer but have not filed your case by the end of this May your bankruptcy lawyer may be asking you for additional fees to cover the increased bankruptcy cost. They are not arbitrarily asking you for more money but since your bankruptcy attorney will not have to pay more to file your bankruptcy case they may need to recoup the funds from you. If you want to avoid the fees then make sure your case is ready to file and provide the attorneys with all your paperwork, complete the credit counseling course, and review and sign your petition prior to the end of May. This way you will know for sure that you will not be responsible for additional bankruptcy court filing fees unless you want to bifurcate or split your bankruptcy case in the future.
If you already retained an attorney but have not completed all the steps necessary to have your bankruptcy case filed yet now is the time to finalize everything to get your case filed before the fee increase. You need to be sure you made all the payments to your attorney, take the credit counseling course and obtain a certificate of completion, review and sign your petition to ensure it is filed before June 1, 2014 to avoid paying the increased filing fee amount. If you are filing your bankruptcy case without an attorney you should be sure to file your bankruptcy case by May 30, 2014 to avoid paying the increased filing fee amount as well.