I Have No Money, Can I Still File a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

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Megan Foukes is a recent graduate from Indiana University who graduated with a bachelor’s in journalism. Megan works as a content writer for Auto Credit Express and contributes to several automotive and finance blogs.


, - October 22, 2019

Unfortunately, you need to pay in order to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you go at it alone and don’t hire a lawyer, the cost is typically cheaper. However, your chances of successfully completing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and having it discharged are lower if you don’t have a trusted lawyer by your side.

How a Lawyer Can Help for Free

Before we mention why it’s important to hire a lawyer, did you know that they can actually help you for free? Although it may not be much, most lawyers offer free consultations and can give you advice on how to pay for court costs and attorney fees if you’re worried about how to pay for it.

Advice and tips are all they can offer for free, though. If you want their help during the bankruptcy process, you need to pay up.

Why Hiring a Lawyer Is Worth the Money

While there are pro bono (free) lawyers available, ideally, you should hire an attorney to handle your case. Because you’re getting legal assistance, you’re more likely to successfully complete your Chapter 7 bankruptcy with an attorney filing for you compared to filing on your own.

Yes, it does cost you a few hundred dollars to file for bankruptcy, and hiring a lawyer increases the cost, but it’s worth it if you don’t want to have your bankruptcy dismissed.

Keep in mind that what your lawyer charges you can vary. Most lawyers charge a flat fee, but their rates can vary based on the bankruptcy type, where they practice, how complex your financial situation is, and more.

Costs to File a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

In addition to paying the attorney’s fee before filing a Chapter 7, there are generally three other fees involved:

  1. Filing fee – For a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the fee is usually $335, according to Credit Karma, but this may vary depending on your situation.
  2. Credit counseling fee – Credit counseling is required, and this service isn’t free. You may have this fee waived in some cases, but you can expect to pay around $50, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
  3. Debtor education course – Completing a debtor education course is also required if you want to have your Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharged – although you may be able to have this waived, as well. This generally costs anywhere from $50 to $100, according to the FTC.

The Bottom Line

If your finances are tight, it’s still possible to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Just be aware that without professional legal assistance, your chances of having the bankruptcy discharged are lower. The good thing about a Chapter 7 is that process is short, and typically only lasts four to six months, but you may be faced with losing your vehicle to pay back your creditors.

However, once you get through your Chapter 7, you can immediately get another auto loan despite having tarnished credit, and CarsDirect can help. We work with a nationwide network of special finance dealers that have the lending resources available to help you even after you've been through bankruptcy.

Don't hesitate to use our help. Fill out our free, no-obligation car loan request form to get started right now!

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Megan Foukes is a recent graduate from Indiana University who graduated with a bachelor’s in journalism. Megan works as a content writer for Auto Credit Express and contributes to several automotive and finance blogs.


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