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Filing Fee, What If I Cannot Afford To File For Bankruptcy?

In some situations, the court may approve a filing fee to be paid in installments or waived completely. Note that if an installment payment plan is approved, the payment schedule must be complied with or the bankruptcy case may be dismissed without the debtor obtaining a discharge of debts.

Chapter 13 Petition Package – In chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, it is generally not allowed to have a filing fee waived or to pay in installments. The purpose of chapter 13 is to keep current with payments, and therefore if the filing fee is not affordable, the court will question a debtor's ability to succeed in a chapter 13 case.

Chapter 11 Petition Package – In chapter 11 bankruptcy cases, fee waivers or installment payments usually are not allowed.

Chapter 7 Petition Package - If a debtor files a chapter 7 bankruptcy case and the debtor's income is less than 150% above the federal H.H.S Poverty Guidelines (which varies depending on your family size), the court may waive the filing fee completely or approve payments in installments. The debtor must make a written request to the court and submit the request at the Clerk's Office intake window at the time the bankruptcy petition is filed. The intake staff will contact the judge to whom the bankruptcy case is assigned, and the judge will make a decision as soon as is possible. This may require the debtor to wait at the courthouse for a few hours if the judge is not available right away, or the debtor may have to return on the next day that the court is open. Even if the court does not waive the filing fee, the court may allow a debtor to pay the filing fee in installments.

Download Form: Fee Installments and Waiver Application

FAQ Type: 
Before Filing Bankruptcy