You have three options when it comes to paying your bankruptcy filing fee: paying in full at the time of filing, applying to make installment payments, and applying for a waiver of the fee. As of 2012, the filing fee for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is $306. If you cannot afford to pay the fee, you should consider filing an application to waive the filing fee.
The United States Courts' website contains a form application that you can use to request a waiver of the filing fee. However, you should check your bankruptcy court's website or the bankruptcy clerk's office to determine if there is a specific local form you should be using.
Your bankruptcy judge will decide whether not you have to pay your filing fee after you file the application for waiver. However, please be aware that the judge may only waive your filing fee if your income is less than 150% percent of the poverty line applicable to your family size.
Completing the Application
Please note that these instructions refer to completing the Application for Waiver of Filing Fee available on the United States Courts' website.
At the top of the application, write your full name after "In re." On the right side of the page, write in your case number, if you have one.
Part A of the form asks you various questions about your family size. The first questions asks how many people are in your family and are listed on your bankruptcy Schedule I. This is generally people that live in your household and are your dependents and your spouse. Do not include your spouse in this number if you are separated and are not filing bankruptcy jointly with that spouse.
In response to question 2, insert your total combined monthly income. This number can be found on the Schedule I, in response to question 16.
Question 3 asks about any net monthly income from your dependents, not included in response to question 2. Enter that amount on this line. If there is no other income, enter zero.
Total the amounts from question 2 and question 3, and enter that amount in response to question 4. Finally, question 5 asks whether you expect the amount entered in response to question 4 to increase or decrease by 10% over the next 6 months. If you do expect a change, you must write down an explanation.
Question 6 of Part B asks you to enter the total amount of your monthly expenses. This amount can be found on line 18 of Schedule J. If you have completed the Schedule, attach a copy.
Question 7, similar to part A, asks whether you expect the number from question 1 to change by more than 10% over the next 6 months. If so, you must provide an explanation.
Part C asks about your real and personal property. For question 8, enter the amount of cash you have on hand. For question 9, enter the amounts you have in bank accounts, including the bank where the account is held, in addition to the type of account.
Question 10 asks that you write down any major assets you have, such as a house or motor vehicles. Do not include ordinary household goods.
Indicate any amounts that you are owed by an person or entity in response to question 11.
Question 12 asks you to indicate how much money you have paid an attorney for filing your bankruptcy case. Question 13 similarly asks if you have promised to pay or will pay an attorney.
Question 14 asks if you have paid anyone in connection with the bankruptcy case, such as a petition preparer. Question 15 asks whether you have promised to pay or will pay such an individual.
Question 16 asks if anyone has paid an attorney or another individual in connection with your bankruptcy, on your behalf.
Question 17 asks whether you have filed bankruptcy in the last eight years and requests that you provide information about the prior cases.
Question 18 asks you to provide any additional information about why you cannot pay the filing fee. Finally, sign and date your application. File your application with the bankruptcy court clerk.
This article is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of and access to this article does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author of this article and the user or browser.