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Courts raise cost of filing bankruptcy

Buffalo, NY — The Judicial Conference of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts has approved an increase to filing fees in bankruptcy proceedings, which will take effect June 1, 2014.  Consumer bankruptcy fees will increase to $335 for Chapter 7 and $310 for Chapter 13, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI).  Commercial filings will go to $1,717 for Chapters 9, 11, and 15, and $275 for a Chapter 12.  Based on current caseloads, ABI said the increases are projected to raise approximately $35 million per year for the courts.

“I believe this is a continuation of the Courts’ policies to shift costs from the general public to the individuals using the courts,” said Jeffrey Freedman, managing attorney, Jeffrey Freedman Attorneys, PLLC. “Unfortunately, this comes at a time when the vast majority of consumers filing bankruptcy can’t afford the existing fees, let alone a higher amount.”

While the courts may view the increases as sound economic policy, Freedman, who handles a significant number of consumer bankruptcy filings, said the fact that the average worker’s income has dropped or stayed stagnant means the increases will make it even more difficult for consumers to get a fresh start by filing bankruptcy.