Cost to File Bankruptcy in Pennsylvania (2024)

Bankruptcy can feel like an overwhelming journey, but understanding the cost to file and the estimated bankruptcy attorney fees in Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania, but you're not quite sure how much it's going to cost you. Let’s break it down. The filing fees for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy will set you back $338, while a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will cost you $313 in 2024. But hold on, it's not as simple as it seems. There are a couple of factors that can affect the total cost, like whether you decide to hire a bankruptcy attorney or if you're eligible for fee waivers.

Now, here's where things get interesting. We did some digging and managed to get a ballpark figure for how much bankruptcy attorneys charge in Pennsylvania. We spent around $1,000 on a nifty public records database called PACER, a good resource to understand bankruptcy attorney fees. As of 2024, the average range for Chapter 7 attorney fees in Pennsylvania is between $1,000 and $2,000. Keep in mind, though, that this is just an estimate. If you want a more precise figure based on your exact location in Pennsylvania, we've got you covered. Just check out the free Pennsylvania bankruptcy cost calculator below.

Now, I know what you're thinking. How am I supposed to afford bankruptcy when I can barely pay my bills? Trust me, you're not alone. With interest rates and inflation still causing a ruckus in 2024, it's a tough situation for many folks out there. But here's the thing. While some bankruptcy costs, like the filing fee and credit counseling courses, are pretty similar across the board, attorney fees can vary wildly depending on where you are in Pennsylvania. Whether you're in the bustling city of Philadelphia or the steel town of Pittsburgh, the price tag can be quite different.

The purpose of this article is to give you an idea of the all-in costs of filing for bankruptcy in Pennsylvania. We'll be covering two main categories:

  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 how much it costs to file for bankruptcy in Pennsylvania. So we've gone ahead and created a database of attorney fees just for you. To find out the estimated cost of bankruptcy in your city in Pennsylvania, all you need to do is enter your zip code below and let our Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Cost Estimator do its work. We're here to help you navigate through this challenging time, so don't hesitate to reach out if you have any other questions. 

1. Actual Lawyer Costs By District In Pennsylvania

We've already shown you a range of bankruptcy attorneys' fees, but there are a few other factors that will influence the total. A few factors that affect the overall cost are the bankruptcy lawyer's location, the complexity of the case, the attorney-client relationship, and the expert's degree of knowledge. But since the location is so important, let's examine the actual costs as shown by the data from Pacer files and the map of the Pennsylvania bankruptcy districts.

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

Map of Western, Middle and Eastern Districts in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Eastern District

Encompassing a significant area, Pennsylvania's Eastern District includes major urban centers like Philadelphia, Reading, and Allentown. Operating within the Eastern Time zone, this district spans 9 counties. It features a central courthouse in Philadelphia and additional court facilities throughout the district, overseen by 19 active district judges and 11 magistrate judges. The diverse economic activities and vibrant communities in Pennsylvania's Eastern District contribute to the overall richness of the region.

For residents in proximity to these major areas within Pennsylvania's Eastern District, the expected bankruptcy filing cost can vary, often floating around $1,785.00. 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.

Pennsylvania Middle District

Covering a substantial area, Pennsylvania's Middle District includes major cities like Harrisburg, Scranton, and Williamsport. Operating within the Eastern Time zone, this district spans 33 counties. It features a central courthouse in Harrisburg and additional court facilities throughout the district, overseen by 9 active district judges and 4 magistrate judges. The diverse economic activities and vibrant communities in Pennsylvania's Middle District contribute to the overall richness of the region.

For residents in proximity to these major areas within Pennsylvania's Middle District, the expected bankruptcy filing cost can vary, often falling within a range from $1,070.00 to $1,850.00. 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.

Pennsylvania Western District

Covering a substantial area, Pennsylvania's Western District includes major cities like Pittsburgh, Erie, and Johnstown. Operating within the Eastern Time zone, this district encompasses 25 counties. It features a central courthouse in Pittsburgh and additional court facilities throughout the district, overseen by 9 active district judges and 5 magistrate judges. The diverse economic activities and vibrant communities in Pennsylvania's Western District contribute to the overall richness of the region.

For residents in proximity to these major areas within Pennsylvania's Western District, the expected bankruptcy filing cost can vary, often falling within a range from $1,000.00 to $1,400.00. 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 Pennsylvania

Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys in Pennsylvania may charge anywhere between $3000 to $4500. The exact fee can vary depending on the district. When it comes to Chapter 7 attorney fees, there is more variability. However, Chapter 13 fees tend to be relatively similar. This is because of something called "no-look fees," which are considered a reasonable cost for the service provided. These fees help ensure fairness and consistency. It's worth noting that some attorneys may charge an hourly rate for any additional work that needs to be done after filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. So, it's always a good idea to inquire about this possibility.

3. Bankruptcy Filing Costs

Bankruptcy filing costs are pretty much the same all over the United States, not just in Pennsylvania. So, if you're thinking about filing for bankruptcy, there are a few other costs you should keep in mind. Let's take a look at what they are.

Bankruptcy Filing Fees

If you're thinking about filing for bankruptcy at the US Courthouse, there are a couple of things you need to know. First off, there's this handy fee schedule that you can check out right here. It lays out all the fees you'll need to pay.

Now, let's talk about the filing fees for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. For Chapter 7, you're looking at a total fee of $338. That breaks down to a $245 filing fee, a $78 administrative fee, and a $15 trustee surcharge.

If you're going the Chapter 13 route, the filing fee is a little lower at $313. That includes a $235 filing fee and a $78 administrative fee. Still, it's good to know what you're getting into.

If you're worried about being able to afford the filing fee. There might be options for you. You could potentially pay the fee in installments, which can help make it more manageable. And in some cases, you might even be able to get the fee waived altogether.

If you want to dig deeper into the fee waiver info, you can check out the Pennsylvania filing fee page. It's got all the details you'll need.

Pennsylvania Filing Fee Waiver Guidelines

If you're thinking about filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and your income is below 150% of the Pennsylvania poverty guidelines, you might be able to get your filing fees waived. Let me break it down for you. For cases filed within Pennsylvania in 2022, the Pennsylvania income limit could look something like this: - If you're one, your income should be below $13,590. - If there are two of you, the limit is $18,310. - For three people, it's $23,030. - If there are four in your crew, the line is drawn at $27,750. - Five people? Stay below $32,470. - Six? Keep it under $37,190. - Seven? Don't go over $41,910. - Eight? Don't exceed $46,630. - And if you have nine in your household, make sure your income is less than $51,350. - Oh, and if you have more than nine people, add $4,720 for each additional individual. Just remember, these guidelines are for cases filed within Pennsylvania in 2022. So, if you meet the income requirements, you could potentially have those bankruptcy filing fees waived. It's worth looking into if you're in a tough spot financially.

Mandatory Course Costs

When you're going through the bankruptcy process in Pennsylvania, there are a couple of courses you'll need to take. First up, you've got to complete an approved credit counseling course. And don't worry, you can usually do it online from the comfort of your own home. Now, the cost of this course can vary, but on average, you're looking at around $10 to $50. After you've finished the credit counseling course, you'll also need to take a debtor education course. This one's important too, as it helps you learn about managing your finances and making smart financial decisions in the future. And just like the credit counseling course, you can usually take this one online as well. So, if you're considering filing for bankruptcy in Pennsylvania, make sure you're prepared to take these courses. They may not be the most exciting thing in the world, but they're a necessary step towards getting back on your feet financially. On the bright side, you can do them online and at an affordable price. 

Miscellaneous Costs

So, you've got a meeting of creditors coming up at the courthouse. Well, 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 Pennsylvania by district and looking up your nearest bankruptcy court.

Will Inflation Affect the Cost To File Bankruptcy in Pennsylvania?

So, there's been some talk about inflation and whether it'll have an impact on attorney fees. Let's dive into this topic and see if it might affect the filing fee and attorney costs in Pennsylvania. First things first, the Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing fee recently went up from $335 to $338, while the Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing fee increased from $310 to $313. Now, these changes are pretty minor, so you don't have to worry too much about the filing fee putting a dent in your wallet. However, when it comes to attorney fees, things might be a bit different. See, inflation can push bankruptcy attorneys to pay their employees more and deal with higher living costs, especially in cities like Pittsburgh or Allentown, or even across the whole state of Pennsylvania. This could potentially lead to an increase in attorney fees. So, while the filing fee won't have much of an impact, keep in mind that attorney costs might see a little inflation. It's something to consider if you're planning on seeking legal help for bankruptcy.

Would My Bankruptcy Cost Be Higher Philadelphia Than Allentown?

You're sitting in your suburban home in Pennsylvania, contemplating whether to hire a local attorney or venture into the big city of Pittsburgh to save on bankruptcy costs. 

Now, Philadelphia boasts the highest population in the entire state, with a whopping 1,587,828 people. With such a bustling metropolis, one might assume that the cost of bankruptcy attorney fees would be sky-high in the City of Brotherly Love. 

Yes, the cost may indeed be higher in Philadelphia, but there's also a greater number of bankruptcy attorneys in the mix. And what does that mean? Competition. With more attorneys vying for clients, prices tend to drop. So, believe it or not, you might actually find that the total cost to file for bankruptcy, including attorney fees, could be much higher in your own city than in the bustling streets of Philadelphia.

Most bankruptcy attorneys offer free consultations. So, you have the opportunity to gather multiple perspectives before making your final decision. And if that's not enough, we've even got a bankruptcy cost calculator down below. It takes into account all those variables we just talked about and gives you an all-in cost estimate.

Why Do Some Attorneys Charge Higher Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Fees? 

So you're in Pittsburgh and you're looking for a bankruptcy attorney. It's always a good idea to compare prices before making a decision. You might be surprised to find that the costs can vary between different attorneys.

In Allentown, the Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys usually charge the same amount. It's called a "no-look fee." Basically, it's a standard fee for the services provided. So, no matter which attorney you choose, you can expect to pay the same amount.

Things get a little more complicated when it comes to Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The attorney fees for Chapter 7 can vary quite a bit. So, it's important to understand what you're getting for the extra cost.

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 assets or not.
  3. Your location - whether you're in Philadelphia or Pittsburgh.
  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 above the median income for Pennsylvania, 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. And as you can guess, extra time means a higher overall cost.

If you want to dive deeper into this topic, I recommend checking out this article: Understanding Bankruptcy Lawyer Fees.

Conclusion

Now, I hope this article has shed some light on the costs of filing bankruptcy with a bankruptcy lawyer in Pennsylvania. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out. And if you want to get an estimate of the costs specific to your situation, you can try out the free Pennsylvania bankruptcy cost calculator below.

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