When filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there is a $335.00 filing fee that goes to the Bankruptcy Court. If you are having difficulty getting the money together to file your bankruptcy, there is a technique known as “fee waiver” where you seek to have the bankruptcy court waive the filing fee for you. You are allowed to apply for waiver of the filing fee if you are representing yourself in your bankruptcy. Even if you have hired an attorney to represent you in your bankruptcy, you may still qualify for waiver of the filing fee if certain conditions are met.
The Bankruptcy Court may approve your application, deny it, order you to pay the filing fee in installments, or hold a hearing to decide whether to grant your application for waiver of the filing fee. If your application to waive the filing fee is denied, the Bankruptcy Court will likely issue an order for you to pay the filing fee in installments. If the Bankruptcy Court orders you to pay the filing fee in installments, it will typically give you three months to pay the filing fee. You must make all of your installment payments on time or the Bankruptcy Court may dismiss your case.
Waiver of the filing fee is most likely to be successful when you are unemployed, retired with limited fixed income, underemployed with a large household size, or have no income at all. The Bankruptcy Court will look at the amount of your income tax refunds when it decides whether to grant your application to waive the fee or whether to order you to pay the filing fee in installments. If you are receiving a substantial income tax refund near the time of filing your bankruptcy, the Bankruptcy Court is likely to order you to pay the filing fee in installments.
The above information is a general overview and is not intended to be used as legal advice. There are a number of factors involved in determining whether you are a good candidate to waive the filing fee, including the federal poverty guidelines. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, the best thing to do is call our office at 248-557-3645 and schedule a free consultation so you can receive advice which is tailored to your specific circumstances.
By: Michael Benkstein, Esq.
Managing Attorney, Bankruptcy Department
The Law Offices of Joumana Kayrouz, PLLC