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Costs invoved in filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy

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UpdatedJun 27, 2024

What is the approximate costs from the lawyer if I file Chapter 13?

Bill, what is the approximate costs from the lawyer if I file Chapter 13?

Currently, the filing fee for a new Chapter 13 case is $274, which is charged by the Bankruptcy Court to cover various filing and administrative costs. Beyond this amount, I cannot tell you how much your bankruptcy case will cost; the fee charged by your attorney will likely be calculated on a per-hour basis, so the total cost of your case will greatly depend on the complexity of your personal financial situation.

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Generally, your attorney will ask you to pay a retainer, or an up front fee, which can range from $500 to $1000 or more; subsequent attorney's fees are usually charged by the hour. Many attorneys quote an average total cost for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy of between $2000 and $3000, with the fee, less the retainer, being paid to the attorney by the bankruptcy court as part of your regular monthly Chapter 13 payment. So, if you pay a $1000 retainer, and your attorney's total fee is $3000, your attorney will be paid the remaining $2000 as part of your bankruptcy plan, much like any other creditor.

Back to you bankruptcy question... Beyond the filing fee of $274, the amount you pay to file bankruptcy will depend entirely on the fee arrangement negotiated between you and your attorney. Depending on the complexity of your case and the prevailing per-hour rate charged by attorneys in your area, your case may cost significantly more or significantly less than the figures mentioned above. While you will likely be expected to pay a retainer and filing fees up front, subsequent costs should be included in your bankruptcy payment plan. Before retaining an attorney to assist you with filing bankruptcy, make sure that you fully understand the fees you are expected to pay; feel free to discuss the fee arrangements with your attorney to verify that you completely understand all terms of the attorney retainer agreement. Regardless of your financial situation, you should find many attorneys willing to work with you in making their fees affordable based on your ability to pay. To learn more about bankruptcy, I encourage you to visit the Bankruptcy Information page.

In addition, you can learn more about filing Chapter 13 by visiting U.S. Courts website at

I wish you the best of luck in resolving your financial difficulties and hope that the information I have provided helps you Find. Learn. Save.



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rrosemary, Oct, 2011
Just got my print out from the trustees office.Totally shocked come to find out my attorney is charging me $5,200. I was never told that. My 500.00 down payment is not even included with the 5,200. Not sure what i can do about this matter.
BBill, Oct, 2011
Start by discussing the fee with the attorney. It seems clear from your use of "down payment" that you did not expect the entire case to cost $500? What kind of paperwork did you sign? Did it include language about the fee?

The trustee appears to have approved the fee. You can speak with the trustee, to see how that fee was determined.

You can choose to file a complaint against your attorney with the state bar, if you feel you were treated improperly.
CChandra, Oct, 2011
Thank you for the information. I just retained an attorney for Chapter 13 and his fees line up with the average it seems. I was wondering about that after the fact. He charged $500 out of pocket attorney costs but a total of $3000. The $500 is deducted so we wil have $2500 in the plan. We are kind of in a financial emergency so I did not check as thoroughly as I normally would. I feel better now. Thanks!
BBill, May, 2010
Wow! Over $7000 in Chapter 13 bankruptcy fees seems outrageously high, particularly if you were misrepresented to by your attorney.Chapter 13 bankruptcies can be very expensive, so be sure to get a solid and fixed cost from your attorney up front!
CConnie, May, 2010
I am with you Cindy, I just reported my attorney to the state bar association. And Asked a news team for some professional advice. Because every attorney I have contacted, turn their backs on me once they know I am dealing with an attorney. She is ripping me off so bad. I paid for my Chapter 13 $1274 up front. Then had to pay for all my credit counseling courses. And to top it off my payment to the court kept going up to which now I have to convert my case to a chapter 7 because I no longer can afford the 13. I was informed that this process would cost me another $800. I agree to that but now I was informed that I am resposible for the attorneys fees (from the 13) $5800. Plus the coversion fee of $700-$800. I would have been better off filling for the Chapter 7 in the first place. Oh and I also already paid the court $801.I can't believe that Attorney's are being able to take advantage of people who are struggling so bad.
BBill, Feb, 2010
Well, if it makes you feel any better, we have heard horror stories where people were charged much more than $3,000 for a bankruptcy filing.If they really did bait and switch you on the bankruptcy costs, you can always complain to your states bar association, or even sue them (ironically) in small claims court and see if you can get a portion of your fee returned, but really you should seek the advice of a local attorney (and be sure the get a FREE consultation).Good luck Candy.
CCandy Cl., Feb, 2010
I am in the process of filing, and was given a free consultation. I was told my total fee would be $655.00. Then, when I wa signing mounds of paperwork, I briefly saw $3,000.00 something. I asked both the lawyer and the assisstant if the $655.00 would be the entire amount, and was told, "yes!" I think it stinks that they would lie to me when I am obviously in finantial trouble.