Legal fees are a big source of mystery to most people, as very few have to deal with attorneys and legal matters on a regular basis. It can be confusing, as it’s one of those thing for which there can be a number of different answers for the same question.
There are four methods by which law firms bill the majority of their time
- Retainer: This is a sum of money that is paid to the firm and from which services are deducted – like a debit card. It’s for people or companies who have a lot of legal matters to be handled.
- Hourly: This is a flat hourly fee that is charged by the firm for handling a number of legal procedures that do not rise to the level of paying out a retainer.
- Flat Fee: This is the a la carte option. If you are having a prenuptial or a simple will drawn, or filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, this covers on that service and nothing else.
- Pro Bono: Pro Bono is where an attorney waives the usual fees and charges to take a case for someone who could not otherwise afford an attorney. We do accept these cases from Mission United and the Legal Aid Service of Broward County.
How Much Does Bankruptcy Cost Depends on What Type of Bankruptcy You Are Filing
The most common for individuals are Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, the most common filings for businesses are Chapter 7 or Chapter 11. Before filing for a Chapter 7 an individual must pass the bankruptcy means test, a test designed to filter out higher incomes that could be shifted to Chapter 13 or Chapter 11 – which are more complex filings. There are some fees that are inflexible and these are associated with the federal courts.
- Chapter 13: $235 filing fee + $75 administrative fee. This may be paid in no more than four installments no later than 120 days after filing. The court may extend this to 180 days for cause.
- Chapter 11: $1,176 filing fee + $550 administrative fee. This may be paid in no more than four installments no later than 120 days after filing. The court may extend this to 180 days for cause.
- Chapter 7: $245 filing fee + &75 administrative fee + $15 trustee surcharge. These fees may be paid in installments with the court’s permission, and if the debtor’s income is less than 150 percent of the bankruptcy code’s poverty level, the fees may be waived completely.
Each case is different, and if you are considering filing for bankruptcy, I urge you to take advantage of a free initial consultation. Our offices are open seven days a week in both Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach – and we also offer a 10 percent discount to public service workers. We can help you get your life and business back on track, and show you that bankruptcy is not an ending, but a new beginning