What Does It Take To File Personal Bankruptcy In Chicago?

Personal Bankruptcy Filing Fees

As of today, the court filing fee for a chapter 7 bankruptcy case is $335. The court filing fee for a chapter 13 bankruptcy case is $310. You should plan on having those funds available at the time you meet with your lawyer. The lawyer that you meet with is going to quote you a separate fee for whatever he or she is charging. But at a minimum, you will need the court costs before anything can be officially filed. Let’s talk about some other requirements for filing bankruptcy.

 Credit Counseling

You will have to take a credit counseling session. This is typically a one hour session in person, on the computer, or over the phone where a credit counseling agency approved by the bankruptcy trustees will provide some counseling. This is a mandatory session that must be completed before any case can be officially filed. The cost for such a session is running anywhere from $15-$30 depending upon where you take it.

 Proof Of Income

You have to provide two months of your paycheck stubs or other proof of income. This information is necessary because once your case is filed, your attorney will have to send this information to the trustee assigned to your case so that it can be reviewed. The trustee is going to make sure that the information that you provided in your petition and schedules matches the information given to him. This is not a very tough requirement. Most people can go to their employer and request the most recent two months’ worth of paycheck stubs.

 Tax Return Filings

Another requirement is that you must have filed your most recent federal tax return if you are filing chapter 7 bankruptcy and your most recent four years of tax returns if you are filing chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you are not in compliance with your tax filing requirements, you may not be eligible for bankruptcy relief. It is okay if you owe money on your taxes. However, you must have your returns filed before you can proceed through the bankruptcy process.

 Meeting of Creditors

You will be required to appear at a meeting of creditors. This is where you appear along with your attorney in front of the chapter 7 or chapter 13 trustee appointed to your case. The trustee will ask you a series of questions, examine the petition and schedules that were filed on your behalf and thoroughly determine whether or not there are any assets to administer or whether or not you are putting all of your disposable income towards your bankruptcy case. The meeting should last no longer than 5 to 10 minutes. If there are any updates or amendments required by the trustee, your attorney will see fit that those changes are made.

 Financial Management Instruction

The final requirement is that you must take a two-hour, personal financial management instruction course after your case is filed but before your case goes to a discharge. This can be done by any provider who is certified by the bankruptcy trustees. It very well may be the same company that provided you with your credit counseling at the start of your case. Some chapter 13 trustees put on the financial management class for free. Ask your attorney which provider is best for you.


Other than the attorney fee that you will work out directly with your attorney, these are the sequences of events of what it takes to file a bankruptcy case. Obviously this is just a framework of the case. There is great effort and great detail that will go into preparing your petition, filing it with the court, submitting documents to the trustee and answering all of your questions throughout the entire process. However, this gives you a framework or roadmap as to what it takes in general terms to file bankruptcy under either chapter 7 or chapter 13.

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