How to File for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy for Free

Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be daunting. Even more daunting is the potential cost. Learn how you can file for free.

If you’re reading this now, the chances are high that you’re planning to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case soon, and I’m very sure that the question on how to file chapter 13 bankruptcy for free must have crossed your mind. We’ll answer that question shortly. 

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is designed to help those with a debt problem come up with an effective and efficient debt relief that won’t be detrimental to the finances of the creditor. If a debtor approaches the Chapter 13 bankruptcy court for debt relief, he/she can stop debt collection actions like wage garnishments, foreclosures, debt-collection lawsuits, and repossessions. The debtor can structure his/her payment schedule in a convenient way, as long as it’s not detrimental to the finances of the creditor. At the end of Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor is debt-free. However, this does not apply to mortgage loans. 

However, as attractive as this debt relief plan is, what stops most people from applying for it is the cost of application. The expense seems too great; however, this is often based on assumption.

The good news about filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that you can go through the process without hiring the serves of a bankruptcy attorney, although it’s better to have one. Something that is also important to understand is that Chapter 13 depends on where you are, for instance; Filing Bankruptcy in Minnesota, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Colorado, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Connecticut.

How Can You File Chapter 13 for Free? 

The Bankruptcy Code gives room for filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case without an attorney. That said, should you do it?However, you must still pay $310 to the court as a filing fee. Courses typically cost something, though there can be financial assistance.

The cost of completing a Credit Counseling Course and Debtor Education Course ranges between $10 and $50. You can take the courses in person, online or on the telephone. The United States Trustee’s Office has licensed lots of companies for this purpose; just ensure that you select a company that offers classes in your state. 

You can go online to download an official bankruptcy form. However, there are many forms from the local government that a debtor needs to fill before filing a bankruptcy case. Chapter 13 bankruptcy forms are unique to bankruptcy districts; as such, you need to visit the nearest bankruptcy district office or check the website of your bankruptcy district to download a form. For more knowledge for other info, such as, Back Taxes, read "How to Handle Back Taxes Bankruptcy".

Things to Consider before filing Chapter 13 without an Attorney:

There are some essential things you should consider before filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy without an attorney, they are; 

  • Do you have knowledge of the different types of bankruptcy laws and how they may affect your case? 
  • Do you know of the bankruptcy exemptions that are available in your state? If your state allows you to use a federal exemption, do you have adequate knowledge of the available federal exemptions? Bankruptcy exemptions are designed to protect some of your equity from liquidation by the court. 
  • Do you have adequate knowledge on how to complete your bankruptcy form, and do you know the forms to fill? 
  • Do you know of the requirements necessary for discharging a bankruptcy debt? 
  • Are you aware of how to calculate the mean test, and do you know how it affects your monthly payments? 
  • Do you know the legal requirements for calculating a Chapter 13 plan? 
  • Can you use bankruptcy laws and case laws to argue your case before a judge? 

A bankruptcy lawyer is trained to provide adequate guidance, support, and legal advice to debtors who want to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Should your creditors and bankruptcy trustee oppose your bankruptcy plan, you’re obligated to amend the bankruptcy plan and file the amended plan.

If you don’t choose the right bankruptcy exemption, you may find yourself paying more than necessary for your bankruptcy discharge. When you have lots of money at stake, an attorney can help protect your equity in more ways than you can imagine.

Alternatives to Chapter 13 Bankruptcy 

In some instances, it may be better to opt for an alternative. One common alternative that people go for is the debt settlement or debt management option, as it sometimes a much better option. If you come up with a detailed debt management strategy with your creditor, you may be able to have control over your finances without the hassle of filing for bankruptcy.

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