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How to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy With No Money


Does it cost money to file bankruptcy? Usually, yes.

There are three things in bankruptcy that cost money:

  1. The court filing fee of $335 for Chapter 7, $310 for Chapter 13
  2. The cost of the credit counseling and financial management courses (varies)
  3. Your attorney fee (varies)

Do you need to file bankruptcy but have no money? We can help.

Take advantage of our affordable fees and payment plans and let the Law Office of David M. Offen Esq. put their over 20 years’ experience to work for you. Our Philadelphia bankruptcy attorneys have helped over 11,000 clients get a financial fresh start.

Read on to find out how to file for bankruptcy in Pennsylvania without any money.

How Can I File for Bankruptcy with No Money?

U.S Bankruptcy CourtMany clients come to us because they are struggling financially, and they believe they should file credit card bankruptcies, divorce bankruptcies, or medical bills bankruptcies. But how can they file for bankruptcy without any money?

If you are filing under Chapter 13, you may need only very little money up front – much of your attorney fee can be paid over the course of your Chapter 13 plan, and we have been successful in applying to the court to allow our clients to pay the court’s filing fee through their plan as well. We will work with you to make sure you can afford to file bankruptcy under Chapter 13.

Schedule your free, no-obligation bankruptcy consultation with us by filling out the contact from on the right, and we will be happy to explain how this works when we meet with you. You have nothing to lose but your debts.

How to File Bankruptcy in PA Without a Lawyer

Remember, there are three things in bankruptcy that cost money – the attorney fee, the court filing fee, and the fee to take the two required credit counseling courses. But here are ways to file Chapter 7 with little or no money spent on these things:

Avoiding paying an attorney fee:  It is possible to file Chapter 7 with no money, but you will have to file yourself because an attorney must charge something for representation unless he or she is working “pro se” as part of some legal aid program.

When people file bankruptcy without an attorney, it is called filing “pro se.”

Having the court filing fee waived: If you prepare your Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing yourself, you can also file an application for waiver of the court filing fee. If the court approves your application, you do not have to pay the $335 court filing fee. In the alternative, the court may order that you pay the filing fee in installments.

Low-cost credit counseling courses:  If you take the time to search, you can find the two online courses you need to take for $20 or $30 for both when you use the same provider.

Man in court standing before two judgesHow to File Bankruptcy without a Lawyer in PA

The court provides a detailed Chapter 7 checklist online, but here are the steps you will need to take to file a bankruptcy case in Pennsylvania pro se:

  • Print out the PA bankruptcy documents you need;
  • Gather all of the required financial information and documents;
  • Complete the PA bankruptcy documents;
  • Complete your means test analysis to show you are income-qualified to file Chapter 7;
  • Take your credit counseling course and get the Certification of Completion;
  • Fill out the Application for Waiver of Filing Fee;
  • Go to the Court to file all of your forms;
  • Mail the required documents to the Chapter 7 Trustee;
  • Take the Financial Management Course and get the Certification of Completion;
  • Attend your 341a Meeting of Creditors;
  • Supply any additional information or documents that the Trustee requests;
  • Wait to receive your discharge and then your case closes.

Required Documents for filing Chapter 7 in PA:

  • Paystubs/proof of income for the 6 months prior to filing;
  • Most recent two years of federal income tax returns;
  • Most recent three months of bank statements for all bank accounts;
  • Deed, if you own real property;
  • Titles, if you own motor vehicles;
  • Copies of all of your bills including creditors’ names and addresses;
  • Credit report.

Circumstances Under Which the Court Filing Fee for Chapter 7 Can Be Waived

The court will approve a waiver of the $335 court filing fee for Chapter 7 if your income is less than 150% of the federal poverty line.

How to File Bankruptcy with No Money to Pay an Attorney

Between applying for waiver of the court fee and attorney fee payment plans over time, filing bankruptcy in PA is possible with very little or no money. We always work with our clients to make our representation affordable for them.

One way we get around our clients’ tight money situation is to instruct them to stop paying their credit cards as soon as they decide they are going to file bankruptcy, as that credit card debt will be discharged at the end of their bankruptcy case. The money they previously allocated to credit card bills can then be applied to the attorney fee.

If you are considering filing your bankruptcy pro se to avoid paying attorney fees, be warned that this may be an exercise in false economy. Very few pro se debtors are successful in getting their fresh start because they fail to follow the complex document and information disclosure requirements, and/or they fail to accurately apply available exemptions to protect their assets from seizure by the Trustee.

Trust the Philadelphia Bankruptcy Attorneys with over 20 Years of Experience

business men handshakeYou only get one chance to make a first impression with the bankruptcy court and Trustee – let an experienced PA bankruptcy attorney make sure your filing makes you look like the honest but unfortunate debtor that you are, and ensure that your personal property is protected from seizure by the Trustee.

Why put your fresh start at risk? You don’t need to go it alone. If you need to file bankruptcy but have no money, call us today to schedule your free consultation – we will discuss all of your options with you, including attorney fee payment plans and court fee waiver options as well as alternatives to filing bankruptcy, such as debt settlement.

We are looking forward to working with you to help you get a fresh start!

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