Cost to File Bankruptcy in Illinois (2024)

Bankruptcy can feel like an overwhelming journey, but understanding the cost to file and the estimated bankruptcy attorney fees in Illinois 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.

The cost of filing for bankruptcy in Illinois may seem straightforward at first glance, but there are a few factors that can make it a bit more complicated. So let's dive into it.

Now, if you're thinking about filing bankruptcy, you might be wondering how much it's going to set you back, especially when you're already struggling to pay your bills. Trust me, I get it. It's tough out there. And with interest rates and inflation at an all-time high in 2024.

So, let's break down the costs. First up, we have the filing fees. For a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you're looking at $338. If you're going for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it'll be $313. However, there are more things to consider.

See, if you decide to hire a bankruptcy attorney, the costs can vary. To get a better idea, we ahead and spent about $1,000 on this fancy public records database called PACER. It's got all the details on bankruptcy attorney fees. We found that the Chapter 7 attorney fee range in Illinois can be anywhere from $1,075 to $2,000. 

Now, keep in mind that these numbers are just estimates. If you want a more accurate estimate based on your exact location in Illinois, we've got a free bankruptcy cost calculator just for you. It takes into consideration all those location-based factors that can make a difference.

So, to sum it all up, we've got two main costs to consider:

  1. Bankruptcy attorney fees
  2. Bankruptcy filing costs

Estimate the All-In Bankruptcy Cost in Your Zip Code

We've been getting a ton of questions about the cost of bankruptcy in Illinois. Therefore, we've gone ahead and created a handy database of attorney fees just for you. To find out how much bankruptcy might cost you in your city in Illinois, all you need to do is enter your zip code below. Our estimator will do the rest and give you an estimate. 

1. Actual Lawyer Costs By District In Illinois

While we have shown a range of bankruptcy attorneys' fees above, there are a few more elements that will determine the final cost. The location of the bankruptcy lawyer, the intricacy of the case, the attorney-client dynamic, and the level of expertise of the expert are some of the variables that influence the total cost. But since the location is so crucial, let's look at the true expenses as shown by the data from Pacer filings and the Illinois bankruptcy district map.

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

Map of Northern, Central and Southern Districts in Illinois

Illinois Northern District

Encompassing a substantial expanse, the Northern District of Illinois includes major urban centers like Chicago, Rockford, and Aurora. Operating within the central time zone, this district comprises 18 counties. It features a central courthouse in Chicago and additional court facilities throughout the district, overseen by 14 active district judges and 8 magistrate judges. The diverse economic activities and vibrant communities in the Northern District contribute to the overall richness of the region.

For residents in proximity to these major areas within Illinois's Northern District, the expected bankruptcy filing cost can vary, often falling within a range from $1,500.00 to $1,788.00. 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.

Illinois Central District

Covering a substantial expanse, the Central District of Illinois includes major urban centers like Springfield, Peoria, and Champaign. Operating within the central time zone, this district comprises 46 counties. It features a central courthouse in Springfield and additional court facilities throughout the district, overseen by 7 active district judges and 4 magistrate judges. The diverse economic activities and vibrant communities in the Central District contribute to the overall richness of the region.

For residents in proximity to these major areas within Illinois's Central District, the expected bankruptcy filing cost can vary, often falling within a range from $950.00 to $1,1,50.00. 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.

Illinois Southern District

Covering a substantial expanse, the Southern District of Illinois includes major urban centers like Carbondale, Belleville, and East St. Louis. Operating within the central time zone, this district comprises 39 counties. It features a central courthouse in East St. Louis and additional court facilities throughout the district, overseen by 7 active district judges and 3 magistrate judges. The diverse economic activities and vibrant communities in the Southern District contribute to the overall richness of the region.

For residents in proximity to these major areas within Illinois's Southern District, the expected bankruptcy filing cost can vary, often falling within a range from $800.00 to $1,137.00. 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.

2. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney Fees Illinois

Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys in Illinois can charge anywhere between $3500 to $3800. The actual fee may vary depending on the district you're in. Now, when it comes to Chapter 7 attorney fees, they can differ quite a bit. However, Chapter 13 fees tend to be more consistent. This is because many attorneys follow what's called "no-look fees," which are considered a fair and reasonable cost for the services provided. But here's something to keep in mind: even if you go with a no-look fee, it's still worth checking if the attorney charges an hourly rate for any additional work that may come up after you file for Chapter 13. So, it's always good to be aware of all the potential costs involved.

3. Bankruptcy Filing Costs

Bankruptcy filing costs aren’t any different in Illinois than in other parts of the United States. So, if you're thinking about taking the plunge, there are a few other expenses to keep in mind. 

Bankruptcy Filing Fees

If you're thinking of filing for bankruptcy in the US, there are a couple of things you should know. First off, there's this thing called a fee schedule. It tells you how much you'll have to pay to file for bankruptcy in a US Courthouse. You can find this fee schedule on their website.

Now, let's talk about the different types of bankruptcy. There's Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. If you're going for Chapter 7, you'll have to pay a total of $338. That includes a $245 filing fee, a $78 administrative fee, and a $15 trustee surcharge. On the other hand, if you're opting for Chapter 13, the filing fee will be $313, which is made up of a $235 filing fee and a $78 administrative fee.

What if you can't afford to pay the filing fee? Well, don't worry just yet. There are a couple of options for you. You might be able to pay the fee in installments, meaning you can break it down into smaller, more manageable payments. Or, if you're struggling financially, you might even be able to get the fee waived altogether. 

Illinois Filing Fee Waiver Guidelines

If you're considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it’s important to check out Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Illinois income limits, you might be eligible to have your filing fees waived if your income falls below 150% of the Illinois poverty guidelines. Let me break it down for you. For instance, let's take a look at the poverty guidelines for cases filed within Illinois in 2022. These guidelines determine the income threshold for different household sizes. Check out the table below: - If you're a single person, your income should be below $13,590. - For a household of two, the income limit is $18,310. - If there are three people in your household, the income should be less than $23,030. - For a family of four, the limit is $27,750. - If you have five people in your household, the income should be below $32,470. - For six people, the limit is $37,190. - If you have seven people in your household, the income should be less than $41,910. - For a family of eight, the limit is $46,630. - If there are nine people, the income should be below $51,350. And here's an important note: if your household has more than nine individuals, you can add $4,720 for each additional person. So, if your income falls below these thresholds, you may be eligible to have your Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing fees waived. It's worth exploring if you're in a tough financial spot.

Mandatory Course Costs

When you're in a tight financial spot and decide to file for bankruptcy, there are a couple of important steps you need to take. One of those steps is completing an approved credit counseling course, which is required by law in Illinois. But don't worry, you can often do this course online from the comfort of your own home. Now, here's the deal. The average cost for these credit counseling courses is usually between $10 and $50 per course. It's not too bad considering the valuable information you'll gain from it. 

You will also need to complete an approved debtor education course. One more thing to note, the U.S. Department of Justice should also have the cost associated with credit counseling and Debt Education courses in Illinois, so you can plan and budget accordingly.

Miscellaneous Costs

One of the required steps when filing for bankruptcy is attending a meeting of creditors at the courthouse. So it's important to be prepared. One thing you might be wondering about is the cost involved. First, let's talk about transportation. Getting to the courthouse might not be as simple as just walking over. Depending on where you live, you might have to pay for transportation. It could be a bus fare, a train ticket, or even gas money if you're driving. The exact cost will vary depending on your location and the distance you have to travel. So, it's a good idea to do some research and estimate how much it might 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 Illinois by district and looking up your nearest bankruptcy court.

Now, onto the credit report. When it comes to bankruptcy, having a clear understanding of your financial situation is crucial. Your attorney might ask you to provide a credit report. That's a document that shows your credit history and helps them assess your financial standing. Usually, you have to pay for a credit report, but here's the silver lining - your attorney might be able to assist you with getting one. They might have access to resources or be able to guide you through the process, potentially saving you some money. So, while there might be some costs involved in attending the meeting of creditors, it's important to remember that seeking legal advice and taking the necessary steps towards financial recovery can have long-term benefits. It's all about finding the right balance and making informed decisions. 

Will Inflation Affect the Cost To File Bankruptcy in Illinois?

There's been some talk about whether inflation will have an impact on attorney fees in the coming years. With inflation projected to calm down in 2024, people are wondering if attorney fees might not rise as much. Let's dive into this topic and explore how inflation could potentially affect the filing fees and attorney costs in Illinois. First things first, let's talk about the filing fee for bankruptcy cases. As of December 1st, 2020, the Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing fee was increased from $335 to $338, while the Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing fee went up from $310 to $313. Now, these changes are pretty minor, so I wouldn't expect them to have a significant negative impact on you. However, when it comes to attorney fees, things might be a bit different. Inflation can put pressure on bankruptcy attorneys to pay their employees more and deal with higher costs of living. This could especially be the case in cities like Aurora, Naperville, and across Illinois. So, there might be some inflation-related increase in attorney fees down the line. It's important to keep in mind that while inflation can potentially affect attorney fees, it's not the only factor at play. Other factors like market demand, competition, and individual attorney policies also come into play when determining fees. So, it's a complex situation with various factors influencing the costs. All in all, while the filing fee changes are quite minimal, there might be some inflation-driven impact on attorney fees. It's always a good idea to stay informed and discuss fees with your attorney to understand how they might be affected.

Would My Bankruptcy Cost Be Higher in Chicago Than Naperville?

You live in a suburb in Illinois and you're debating over whether to hire a local attorney or go for someone in a bigger city like Aurora to save on bankruptcy costs.

Now, Chicago, with its whopping population of 2,705,994, might make you think that bankruptcy attorney fees there would be sky-high compared to places like Naperville.

But here's the twist: while the cost may indeed be higher in the Chicago, the sheer number of bankruptcy attorneys there creates fierce competition. And when competition gets tough, prices tend to drop. So, believe it or not, you might end up paying more to file for bankruptcy in your city than in Chicago.

Most bankruptcy attorneys offer free consultations. That means you can gather multiple perspectives without spending a dime. Our bankruptcy cost calculator below takes all these variables into account to give you a comprehensive estimate of the total cost. 

Why Do Some Attorneys Charge Higher Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Fees? 

You know, when it comes to bankruptcy attorneys in Aurora, comparing prices can be a real eye-opener. Turns out, the costs can vary quite a bit between two different attorneys. 

Now, here's the deal. When it comes to Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys in Naperville, they tend to charge the same amount. Why? Well, they have something called a "no-look fee" (sounds fancy, right?). It's a set fee for the services they provide. So, no matter which attorney you choose, you'll be paying the same amount. Simple as that.

But hold on, because things get a little more interesting with Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys. The fee for these guys can vary quite a bit. So, it's important to understand what you're getting for that extra cost.

Now, let's break it down. The cost of a bankruptcy lawyer is usually based on a few factors. First, there's the type of bankruptcy you're filing. Are you going for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13? Then, your case is complex. Is it a "no asset" case or an "asset" case? Your location also plays a role. Are you in Chicago or Aurora? And let's not forget about the level of attorney connection and expertise. How experienced is the attorney? All of these things can affect the cost.

Let me give you an example to make things clearer. Imagine you're making $10,000 more than the median income for Illinois, and you still want to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Well, in that case, the attorney might have to spend extra time going through your expenses to see if you qualify. You see, being above the median income complicates things a bit. And when the attorney spends more time on your case, you can expect the overall cost to go up.

So, if you want to dive deeper into this topic and learn more about bankruptcy lawyer fees, I've got a great article for you. Understanding Bankruptcy Lawyer Fees.

Conclusion

To sum up, the price tag for bankruptcy largely depends on where you live and the type of bankruptcy you're filing.

The biggest factor that affects the total cost is the attorney fee. For a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you're looking at a range of $1075 to $2000. On the other hand, if you're filing for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, be prepared to shell out around $3500 to $3800. It's important to note that these figures may vary depending on your specific circumstances, so keep that in mind.

Now, I hope this article has shed some light on the all-in costs of filing bankruptcy with a bankruptcy lawyer in Illinois. If you still have questions swirling around in your head, don't hesitate to reach out. And hey, if you want to get an estimate tailored to your situation, give the free Illinois bankruptcy cost calculator below a try. 

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