Cost to File Bankruptcy in Alabama (2024)

Bankruptcy can feel like an overwhelming journey, but understanding the cost to file and the estimated bankruptcy attorney fees in Alabama is the first step.
Information in this article does not constitute legal advice, it is for informational purposes only, and may not constitute the most up-to-date information. Readers should contact their attorney for advice on any particular legal matter.

So you're thinking about filing for bankruptcy in Alabama, but you're not sure how much it's going to cost you. The cost of filing for bankruptcy in Alabama is $338 for Chapter 7 and $313 for Chapter 13 in 2024. If you decide to hire a bankruptcy attorney or try to get the filing fees waived, things can get even more complicated. We dug deep and spent around $1,000 on PACER, a public records database that contains bankruptcy attorney fees, to get a more accurate estimate of attorney fees in Alabama. We found that the Chapter 7 attorney fee range in Alabama can set you back anywhere between $1,170 and $1,500. Now, that's just an estimate. But if you want a more precise figure based on your location in Alabama, we've got a free bankruptcy cost calculator below.

You’re probably wondering how are you supposed to afford bankruptcy in Alabama when you're already struggling to pay your bills. Especially with interest rates and inflation still causing a ruckus in 2024. The good news is that many bankruptcy costs, like the filing fee and credit counseling courses, are pretty similar across the board. But when it comes to attorney fees, that's where things can get a bit niched. Whether you're in Huntsville or Birmingham, the cost of bankruptcy attorney fees can vary.

So, here's the deal. This article is here to give you the lowdown on the estimated all-in costs of bankruptcy in Alabama. We're talking about two main things:

  1. Bankruptcy Attorney Fees
  2. Bankruptcy Filing Costs

Estimate the All-In Bankruptcy Cost in Your Zip Code

We've been getting a lot of questions about the cost of bankruptcy in Alabama, so we decided to do some digging and create a database of attorney fees just for you. Now, you can find out how much bankruptcy might set you back in your city in Alabama. To get an estimate, all you need to do is enter your zip code below. The calculator will give you an idea of what you might expect to pay.

1. Actual Lawyer Costs By District In Alabama

Although we have listed a variety of bankruptcy lawyers' fees above, the exact price will vary depending on a few different criteria. The ultimate cost depends on a number of factors, including complexity, location, degree of attorney relationship, and the bankruptcy lawyer's experience. However, location plays a major role, therefore let's examine the Alabama bankruptcy district map and actual fees from Pacer filing data.

See the map below to determine which district you reside in, then scroll down to see actual legal fees.

Map of Northern, Middle, and Southern Districts of Alabama

Alabama Northern District

Spanning a significant area, the Northern District of Alabama encompasses major cities like Birmingham, Huntsville, and Decatur. Operating within the Central Time zone, this district covers 31 counties. It features a central courthouse in Birmingham and additional court facilities throughout the district, overseen by 7 active district judges and 5 magistrate judges. The diverse economic activities and vibrant communities in Alabama's Northern District contribute to the overall richness of the region.

For residents in proximity to these major areas within Alabama's Northern District, the expected bankruptcy filing cost can vary, often falling within a range from $1,000.00 to $1,538.00. It's crucial to bear in mind that this is an estimate, and actual expenses may fluctuate based on factors such as your financial situation and the choice of legal representation.

Alabama Middle District

Covering a substantial area, the Middle District of Alabama includes major cities like Montgomery, Auburn, and Opelika. Operating within the Central Time zone, this district spans 23 counties. It features a central courthouse in Montgomery and additional court facilities throughout the district, overseen by 4 active district judges and 3 magistrate judges. The diverse economic activities and vibrant communities in Alabama's Middle District contribute to the overall richness of the region.

For residents in proximity to these major areas within Alabama's Middle District, the expected bankruptcy filing cost can vary, often falling within a range from $400.00 to $1,250.00. It's crucial to bear in mind that this is an estimate, and actual expenses may fluctuate based on factors such as your financial situation and the choice of legal representation.

Alabama Southern District

The Southern District of Alabama encompasses a sizable region and is home to important cities including Auburn, Opelika, and Montgomery. This district, which includes twenty-three counties, is in the Central Time Zone. Under the direction of three magistrate judges and four active district judges, the district has a central courthouse in Montgomery as well as several court buildings spread out over the area. The Middle District of Alabama's thriving neighborhoods and varied economic activity add to the region's overall wealth.

The anticipated cost of filing for bankruptcy can vary for Alabama's Middle District citizens who live close to these important places; it often ranges between $1,000.00 and $1,065.00. It is important to remember that this is only an estimate and that actual costs may change depending on a variety of factors, including your financial status.

2. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney Fees Alabama

Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys in Alabama can charge anywhere between $3500 to $4500. The exact fee may vary depending on the district you're in. Now, when it comes to Chapter 7 attorney fees, there's more room for variability. However, Chapter 13 fees tend to be more consistent. They are often determined by something called "no-look fees," which is a reasonable cost for the services provided. But here's something to keep in mind: Some attorneys might charge an hourly rate for any extra work they do after filing Chapter 13. So, it's always a good idea to check with your attorney about their billing structure. 

3. Bankruptcy Filing Costs

Bankruptcy filing costs are pretty much the same throughout the entire United States, not just in Alabama. However, there are some other costs you need to keep in mind too.

Bankruptcy Filing Fees

The US Courthouse has a fee schedule and bankruptcy forms that lays it all out for you.

Now, if you're going for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the filing fee is $338. That's broken down into a $245 filing fee, a $78 administrative fee, and a $15 trustee surcharge.

If Chapter 13 bankruptcy seems more like the way to go, the filing fee is a bit lower at $313. That includes a $235 filing fee and a $78 administrative fee

If you're strapped for cash and can't afford the filing fee. There might be some options for you. You could pay the fee in installments or it could be waived altogether.

Alabama Filing Fee Waiver Guidelines

If you're thinking about filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, I've got some good news for you. You might be able to have your filing fees waived if you fall below 150% of the Alabama poverty guidelines. Be sure to check out Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Alabama Income Limit.

Below are the poverty guidelines for different household sizes in Alabama for the year 2022: 

| # of People | 150% Poverty Guideline | 

|-------------|-----------------------| 

| 1 | $13,590 | 

| 2 | $18,310 | 

| 3 | $23,030 | 

| 4 | $27,750 | 

| 5 | $32,470 | 

| 6 | $37,190 | 

| 7 | $41,910 | 

| 8 | $46,630 | 

| 9 | $51,350 | 

| *Add $4,720 for each individual over 9. | 

So, if your income falls below these guidelines, you might be eligible to have your Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing fees waived. It's worth looking into if you're in a tough financial situation.

Mandatory Course Costs

When you're in a tough financial spot and decide to file for bankruptcy in Alabama, there are a couple of things you need to do. First off, you gotta take these two courses: a credit counseling course and a debtor education course. You can usually take them online, which makes things a whole lot easier. Now, let's talk about the cost. These courses usually come around $10 to $50 per course. Just keep in mind that the courses you take have to be approved. Be sure to check out the list of approved credit counseling courses in Alabama, the same thing goes for approved debtor education courses in Alabama.

Miscellaneous Costs

If you've got a meeting of creditors coming up at the courthouse, it's important to know that you might have to shell out some cash for transportation to get there. On top of that, you might also have to cover the cost of a credit report for your attorney. Your attorney might be able to lend a hand with getting that credit report sorted. Let's talk numbers. You're probably wondering how much this whole transportation thing is gonna set you back.

We’ve made it easier for you to figure that out by hovering over to your district using this interactive map below showing bankruptcy courthouses in Alabama by district and looking up your nearest bankruptcy court.

Will Inflation Affect the Cost To File Bankruptcy in Alabama?

There's been some talk about inflation and how it might affect attorney fees. The filing fee for Chapter 7 bankruptcy got a minor update from $335 to $338. And for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it went from $310 to $313. These changes came into play on December 1st, 2020. But honestly, with such a tiny change, I wouldn't sweat it. It's unlikely to put a dent in your wallet. Inflation might force bankruptcy attorneys to shell out more money to their employees. Plus, they might have to deal with higher living costs themselves, especially in cities like Birmingham, Montgomery, and all across Alabama. So, yeah, there might be a bit of an impact on attorney fees. Bottom line: while the filing fee won't make much of a difference, you might see a slight uptick in attorney costs due to inflation. Just keep that in mind if you find yourself in need of a bankruptcy attorney in the future.

Would My Bankruptcy Cost Be Higher in Huntsville Than in Montgomery?

Should you hire a local attorney from your small town, or should you venture into a big city such as Birmingham to save on bankruptcy costs? 

Now, you might think that living in Huntsville, the most populous city in Alabama with around 215,006 people, would mean higher bankruptcy attorney fees. And you wouldn't be entirely wrong. But here's the twist - with more attorneys in Huntsville, the total cost of filing for bankruptcy, including those attorney fees, might be lower in Huntsville compared to your city.

Most bankruptcy attorneys offer free consultations. That means you can gather multiple perspectives without spending a dime. And if you're still feeling uncertain, we've got your back. Our bankruptcy cost calculator below takes all these variables into account to give you an all-inclusive cost estimate. 

Why Do Some Attorneys Charge Higher Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Fees? 

One thing you might be wondering is how much it's going to cost you to hire a bankruptcy attorney. 

Let's take a look at a couple of scenarios. If you're filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Montgomery, you'll find that most attorneys charge the same amount. They have this thing called a "no-look fee" - a standard fee for the services they provide. So, you don't have to worry too much about the cost in this case.

However, if you're going for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, things can get a bit more complicated. The attorney fees for Chapter 7 can vary greatly, and it's important to understand what you're paying for.

So, what determines the cost of a bankruptcy lawyer? Let me break it down for you:

  1. The type of bankruptcy you're filing - Chapter 7 or Chapter 13
  2. The complexity of your case - whether you have any assets or not
  3. Your location - where you're filing for bankruptcy
  4. The level of connection you have with the attorney
  5. The attorney's expertise - how many years of experience they have

Let me give you an example to make things clearer. Let's say you're making $10,000 more than the median income in Alabama, but you still want to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In this case, the attorney might have to spend extra time reviewing your expenses to see if you qualify for Chapter 7 despite your higher income. And as you can guess, extra time means extra money.

If you want to dive deeper into the world of bankruptcy lawyer fees. Check out this article: Understanding Bankruptcy Lawyer Fees. It'll give you all the details you need to make an informed decision.

Conclusion

I hope this article has given you some helpful info to understand the all-in costs of filing for bankruptcy with a lawyer. But hey, if you still have questions, don't hesitate to reach out. And if you wanna get a quick estimate of the costs specific to Alabama, check out the free Alabama bankruptcy cost calculator below.

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