Paying the Filing Fee in a Bankruptcy Case

20 Jun Paying the Filing Fee in a Bankruptcy Case

One of the few pro-consumer things that the new law, BAPCPA, did was to allow a debtor to file a bankruptcy without paying the filing fee. Before October, 2005 when the new law went into effect, that simply wasn’t possible: you either had to pay the whole filing fee up front, or enter into an installment payment with the court. If you missed an installment, your bankruptcy could be dismissed.

Under the new law however, the court has the power to waive the filing fee upon an appropriate show. You’ll have to fill out the right forms, showing that you can’t afford the fee, and the judge has to approve your request, but it can be done.

Although it would seem that this opens the doors to a whole group of debtors who weren’t able to file previously, in reality few debtors can maneuver their way through and morass of the requirements of the bankruptcy laws without hiring a competent paralegal or a lawyer. Thus, somebody who is truly indigent may not be able to file anyway.

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Douglas Jacobs is a California bankruptcy attorney and partner in the Chico law firm of Jacobs, Anderson, Potter & Chaplin. Since 1988, Mr. Jacobs has taught Constitutional law and Debtor-Creditor/Bankruptcy law at the Cal Northern School of Law. He has served as Dean of Students since 1994. He is a frequent lecturer on the subject of consumer bankruptcy law, and has spoken at both state and national levels.
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