What is the Process to Have the Chapter 7 Filing Fee Waived?
At Phoenix Fresh Start Bankruptcy, we’re here to guide you through the bankruptcy process with compassion. This blog post will introduce you to our legal services, specifically focusing on how we can assist you with the application for a waiver of the Chapter 7 filing fee, a crucial step towards reclaiming your financial stability.
If you’re struggling with debt and need assistance with Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Arizona, look no further than Phoenix Fresh Start Bankruptcy. Our team of trusted bankruptcy attorneys is dedicated to helping individuals like you find relief from the overwhelming financial pressures they face.
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What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a legal process designed to help individuals eliminate their debt. It is among the various types of bankruptcy available, including Chapter 11, Chapter 12, and Chapter 13. However, Chapter 7 stands out as the most popular choice due to its speed, simplicity, and affordability.
When filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will need to submit your case to a bankruptcy court. Each state has a limited number of bankruptcy court divisions responsible for overseeing all cases. If you reside in a small town, your bankruptcy case will likely be filed in a court located in a larger city nearby.
For instance, in Arizona, there are three bankruptcy court divisions situated in Phoenix, Tucson, and Yuma. Depending on your place of residence, your case will be filed in one of these three cities.
What is the Application to Have the Chapter 7 Filing Fee Waived?
The Application to Have the Chapter 7 Filing Fee Waived is a legal document that individuals use to request the court to exempt them from paying the fees associated with filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. Typically, filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case requires paying a total fee of $306.
This fee includes a $245 case filing fee, a $46 miscellaneous administrative fee, and a $15 trustee surcharge. According to Section 418 of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, the term “filing fee” encompasses any fee defined by the Judicial Conference under 28 USC Section 1930(b) and (c) that must be paid to the court upon initiating a Chapter 7 case.
There are two types of applications for the Chapter 7 filing fee waiver. The first is the Motion to Waive Filing Fees, which is submitted to the court and requires the applicant to provide evidence of financial hardship. The second type is the Application to Pay Filing Fees in Installments, which is also filed with the court and allows the applicant to pay the filing fees in manageable installments.
Am I Qualified for a Chapter 7 Fee Waiver?
If you are unable to afford the fee, both immediately and in the future, you will be eligible for a fee waiver in the following circumstances:
- Only individuals (businesses are excluded) can apply for a fee waiver.
- The fee waiver is specifically applicable to those filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
- If you are unable to make installment payments towards the fee within 120 days, you may qualify for the waiver.
- To be eligible for the fee waiver, your total family income should be below 150% of the official poverty line.
What is the Official Poverty Line?
The income limits for the fee waiver are determined by the official poverty guidelines issued by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). It’s important to note that even if your income falls within the poverty guidelines, you will still be required to provide a sworn statement, under penalty of perjury, stating that you are unable to pay the fee in installments.
How to Complete the Application for Fee Waiver?
To fill out the Application to Have the Chapter 7 Filing Fee Waived (Form 103B), you will need to provide various details about your family, income, expenses, assets, and property. The information you provide should align with the figures listed on your bankruptcy schedules to maintain consistency.
Specifically, you will require information from Schedule I (income), Schedule J (expenses), and Schedule A or B (property). Additionally, the application will ask for the following information:
- Any payments made or agreed upon are to be paid to an attorney or any other person for services connected to your bankruptcy filing.
- Details of any previous bankruptcy filings you have made within the past eight years.
The form also provides an opportunity for you to include any additional information that helps clarify or explain why you are unable to pay the fee either upfront or in installments. You can use this section to provide any relevant details that further support your request for a fee waiver.
What Will Be the Court’s Order on My Application for Fee Waiver?
The court has the authority to issue one of the following orders:
- Approve the fee waiver and grant your request.
- Schedule a hearing where you will be required to attend and present your case.
- Reject the fee waiver and establish a payment schedule for the fee.
What Will Happen If My Application for Waiver of Chapter 7 Filing Fee is Denied?
If a court denies an application for a filing fee waiver, the debtor should be given a reasonable amount of time, typically around 10 days, to either pay the fee in full or start making installment payments. To streamline administrative processes, the court’s order denying the fee waiver should include a schedule for installment payments.
Additionally, the debtor must be informed that failure to pay the fee or make timely installments may result in the dismissal of the case. In cases where an individual filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy has been granted a fee waiver but later converts their case to Chapter 13, they will be required to pay the full Chapter 13 filing fee.
Similarly, if a case is converted from Chapter 13 to Chapter 7, the court may waive any remaining unpaid balance on the filing fee if it deems it appropriate based on the circumstances. If a debtor initially files an application to pay the filing fee in installments but later applies for a fee waiver, the court has the discretion to waive any outstanding balance of the filing fee if the circumstances warrant it.
On the other hand, if developments in the case or the administration of the estate reveal that the fee waiver was not justified, the court can vacate the order granting the fee waiver.
We Can Guide You Through the Whole Process of Application for Waiver of Chapter 7 Filing Fee
Navigating the Chapter 7 fee waiver process in Arizona can be daunting, but with the assistance of a trusted and experienced bankruptcy lawyer, like those at Phoenix Fresh Start Bankruptcy, you can find relief from the financial burden and pave the way to a brighter future.
Our team is dedicated to helping individuals like you overcome the challenges of overwhelming debt and achieve a fresh start through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. By choosing Phoenix Fresh Start Bankruptcy, you gain access to our extensive knowledge and experience in handling fee waiver applications.
Our skilled bankruptcy attorneys understand the intricacies of the process and can guide you through every step, from gathering the necessary documentation to presenting a compelling case to the court. We’ll work diligently to ensure your application for a waiver of the Chapter 7 filing fee is prepared accurately and increases your chances of approval.
Don’t let financial hardships hold you back. Take advantage of Phoenix Fresh Start Bankruptcy’s exceptional legal services and let us guide you toward the fresh start you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward reclaiming your financial freedom.
Our legal team can also assist you with Bankruptcy Filing Basics, Chapter 7, and Chapter 13. Remember, at Phoenix Fresh Start Bankruptcy, we are your partners in overcoming financial challenges and starting anew.