Cost to File Bankruptcy in Michigan (2024)

Bankruptcy can feel like an overwhelming journey, but understanding the cost to file and the estimated bankruptcy attorney fees in Michigan 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 Michigan may seem straightforward at first, but there are a few factors that can make it a bit more complicated. Let's break it down and dive into the details.

First, let's talk about the filing fees. In 2024, it will cost you $338 for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and $313 for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, if you're considering hiring a bankruptcy attorney or hoping to get the filing fees waived, things get a little more nuanced.

We wanted to provide you with an accurate estimate of how much bankruptcy attorneys charge in Michigan. So, we dug deep and spent around $1,000 on PACER, a public records database that contains information on bankruptcy attorney fees. After our research, we found that as of 2024, the Chapter 7 attorney fee range in Michigan can be anywhere between $1,000 and $1,500. Keep in mind that this is just an estimate.

If you're looking for a more precise estimate based on your location in Michigan, we've got you covered. Feel free to try out our free Michigan bankruptcy cost calculator below. It takes into account your exact location and provides you with a location-based estimate.

Now, let's address a common concern: affordability. Like many people, you might be wondering how you can afford the cost of bankruptcy in Michigan, especially when you're already struggling to pay your bills. This becomes even more challenging in 2024 with interest rates and inflation still causing headaches.

While some bankruptcy costs, such as the filing fee and credit counseling courses, are relatively similar across the board, the cost of attorney fees can vary dramatically depending on where you are in Michigan. Whether you're in Detroit or Grand Rapids, the difference in attorney fees can be significant.

So, in this article, we aim to provide you with estimated all-in costs for filing bankruptcy in Michigan. We'll cover two main categories:

  1. Bankruptcy Attorney Fees
  2. Bankruptcy Filing Costs

By the end, you'll have a clearer picture of what to expect and how to navigate the costs of bankruptcy in Michigan. Let's get started!

Estimate the All-In Bankruptcy Cost in Your Zip Code

We've been getting a lot of questions about the cost of bankruptcy in Michigan, so we decided to do something about it. We've put together a resourceful database of attorney fees. All you need to do is enter your zip code below, and we'll give you an estimate of how much bankruptcy might cost in your city in Michigan. 

1. Actual Lawyer Costs By District In Michigan

A variety of bankruptcy lawyers' fees have already been displayed to you, but there are a few more elements that will affect the final sum. 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 actual expenses as displayed by the Pennsylvania bankruptcy districts map and the data from Pacer files.

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

Map of Eastern and Western Districts in Michigan

Michigan Eastern District

Covering a substantial area, the Eastern District of Michigan includes major cities like Detroit, Flint, and Ann Arbor. Operating within the Eastern Time zone, this district encompasses 34 counties. It features a central courthouse in Detroit and additional court facilities throughout the district, overseen by 15 active district judges and 8 magistrate judges. The diverse economic activities and vibrant communities in Michigan's Eastern District contribute to the overall richness of the region.

For residents in proximity to these major areas within Michigan's Eastern District, the expected bankruptcy filing cost can vary, often falling within a range from $1,000.00 to $1,675.00. 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.

Michigan Western District

Encompassing a significant area, the Western District of Michigan includes major cities like Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Muskegon. Operating within the Eastern Time zone, this district spans 49 counties. It features a central courthouse in Grand Rapids and additional court facilities throughout the district, overseen by 6 active district judges and 4 magistrate judges. The diverse economic activities and vibrant communities in Michigan's Western District contribute to the overall richness of the region.

For residents in proximity to these major areas within Michigan's Western District, the expected bankruptcy filing cost can vary, often falling within a range from $919.00 to $1,997.00. 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 Michigan

Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys in Michigan can charge around $3,000. However, the actual fee may vary depending on the district. Unlike Chapter 7 attorney fees, which can differ significantly, Chapter 13 fees are often quite similar. This is because they are based on "no-look fees," which are considered a fair and reasonable cost for the services provided. It's worth noting that some attorneys may charge an hourly rate for any extra work required after filing the Chapter 13. So, it's always a good idea to inquire about additional charges.

3. Bankruptcy Filing Costs

Bankruptcy filing costs can be quite similar all over the United States, not just in Michigan. But hold your horses, there are a few other costs you should keep in mind too. Let's dive in and explore what they are.

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.

Michigan Filing Fee Waiver Guidelines

It’s good to note that every state has an income guideline when filing for chapter 7, be sure to check out Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Michigan Income limit. You might be eligible to have your filing fees waived if you fall below 150% of the Michigan poverty guidelines. For instance, if you're a single person, your annual income needs to be below $13,590 to qualify. If you're two, that number goes up to $18,310. And if you have a family of three, the limit is $23,030. But what if you have more than nine people in your household? Well, for each additional person, you can add $4,720 to the limit. Now, keep in mind that these guidelines are specifically for bankruptcy cases filed in Michigan in 2022. So, if you're in a different state or year, the numbers might be different. It's always a good idea to double-check the guidelines for your specific situation. Having your Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing fees waived can be a huge relief, especially if you're going through a tough financial time. It's definitely worth exploring if you meet the eligibility criteria.

Mandatory Course Costs

There are a couple of courses you'll need to take. Don't worry, though, you can usually take them online from the comfort of your own home. First up, there's the credit counseling course. This course is designed to give you some guidance on managing your finances and understanding the implications of bankruptcy. It's important to note that the course has to be approved, so you'll want to make sure you're taking one from the list of approved Michigan credit counseling courses. The average cost for this course is usually around $10 to $50. Once you've completed the credit counseling course, it's time for the debtor education course. This course is all about helping you develop the skills and knowledge you need to make better financial decisions in the future. Again, you'll need to take an approved course, so check out the list of approved Michigan debtor education courses. Just like the credit counseling course, the average cost for this one is around $10 to $50.

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 actually 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 Michigan by district and looking up your nearest bankruptcy court.

Will Inflation Affect the Cost To File Bankruptcy in Michigan?

The Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing fee got a minor update. It went from $335 to $338. And as for the Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing fee, it bumped up from $310 to $313. Now, I know what you're thinking: "Is this tiny change gonna mess with my wallet?" It's such a minuscule increase that it won't put a dent in your bank account. However, it’s important to consider inflation hits attorney fee costs. See, inflation can push bankruptcy attorneys to shell out more money to their employees. Plus, they might have to deal with higher living costs themselves, especially if they're in cities like Grand Rapids or Warren, or anywhere else in Michigan. So, yeah, you might see a bit of a bump in attorney fees.

Would My Bankruptcy Cost Be Higher Detroit Than Warren?

If you're living in a suburb in Michigan and you find yourself in need of a bankruptcy attorney, you might be wondering whether it's better to hire someone local or head to a bigger city like Grand Rapids.

Now, Detroit, being the largest city in Michigan with a population of 672,662, you might think that the cost of bankruptcy attorney fees would be higher there compared to a place like Warren.

While the cost might be higher in Detroit, there's also a higher number of bankruptcy attorneys in the city. Which means competition. And where there's competition, prices tend to drop. So, believe it or not, you might actually find that the total cost of filing bankruptcy, including those pesky attorney fees, could be much higher in your own city than in lively Detroit.

Most bankruptcy attorneys offer free consultations. So, you can get multiple perspectives and figure out what works best for you. And if you're still contemplating the costs, don't worry. We've got you covered with our helpful bankruptcy cost calculator down below. It considers all those variables and gives you an all-in cost estimate.

Why Do Some Attorneys Charge Higher Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Fees? 

If you compare prices from two different bankruptcy attorneys in Grand Rapids, you'll find that their costs can vary. However, something that is interesting to note about Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys in Warren. They often charge the same amount, thanks to something called a "no-look fee." This fee is a standard charge for the services provided. 

When it comes to Chapter 7 bankruptcy, attorney fees can vary greatly. That's why it's crucial to understand what you're getting for the additional cost. So, what factors influence the cost of a bankruptcy lawyer?

  1. The type of bankruptcy you're filing: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
  2. The complexity of your case: Do you have assets or not?
  3. Your location: Are you in Detroit or Grand Rapids?
  4. The level of attorney connection: How well does the attorney understand your situation?
  5. The attorney's expertise: How many years of experience does the attorney have?

Let's break it down with an example. Imagine you make $10,000 above the median income for Michigan, and you want to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In this case, the attorney may need to spend extra time reviewing your expenses to determine if you qualify for Chapter 7, even though you're above the median income. And as you can guess, additional attorney time usually means a higher overall bankruptcy cost.

If you're curious to learn more about bankruptcy lawyer fees and how they work, check out this article: "Understanding Bankruptcy Lawyer Fees." It'll give you a deeper understanding of what to expect and help you 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 Michigan, check out the free Michigan bankruptcy cost calculator below.

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