According to lawyers of Los Angeles based firm, the court system is expensive and therefore even people who file for bankruptcy need to pay a filing fee to cover the costs. However, for those who cannot afford to pay the fee, the exemption is made provided they can meet the required qualifications. Alternately, the option of paying the bankruptcy filing fee in installment is also available. Here’s everything you wanted to know about the bankruptcy fee waiver.
Who can get a fee waiver?
If you wish to get a fee waiver then you need to meet the following criteria:
- File an individual Chapter 7 bankruptcy (businesses don’t get fee waivers)
- The combined family income is below 150% of the Department of Health and Humans Services poverty guidelines
- Provide a satisfactory explanation regarding why paying the fee in installments is not possible
- Disclose whether you have paid an attorney or bankruptcy petition preparer to help you in filing your case
- submit a fee waiver application along with your bankruptcy petition and schedules.
However, it is not necessary that the court will grant your request. They might set a hearing to provide adequate proof of your inability to pay the fees. If your petition is not approved, you will be given a short time to pay the fees in total or set an installment plan. If after getting a fee waiver, developments indicate that you have more income or property than disclosed, the fee waiver can be undone, and you will have to pay the fee.
Paying court fees in installments
In case your request for a fee waiver is denied, you can pay the bankruptcy filing fees in 3-4 installments within 120 days. You need to inform the court when you will be making the payments. Generally, the filer is required to make the 1st payment at the time they file their bankruptcy case. However, as per a rule change in 2017, the payment is not required to accompany the petition. Once you start the installment payment, you can ask for a waiver later; however, it will only be applicable to the remaining outstanding fees. On missing an installment payment, the court can even dismiss your case!
Fee payment options in case of Chapter 13 bankruptcy
In case of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor cannot waive the filing fees. Since you can afford to make payments as per the repayment plan, you can also pay the filing fee. However, you have the option of paying the fee in instalments. Most chapter 13 filers include their attorney’s fees in their payment plan. However, paying the entire filing fee is easier when you file your case as well as a huge portion of the attorney’s fees through the repayment plan.
For more details, consult experienced bankruptcy attorneys at (888-297-6203).