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Can I Pay My Bankruptcy Filing Fee in Installments?

Installment Plan for Bankruptcy Filing Fee

The exterior of a Bankruptcy Court building - Filing Fee Installment Request

When you filing bankruptcy, you have to pay a filing fee of $335 for Chapter 7 or $310 for Chapter 13.  In a Chapter 7 you can request to pay the filing fee in installments.

If you cannot afford to pay the full bankruptcy filing fee fee, you may apply for installment agreement.  If your request to pay is approved, you will be permitted to file your bankruptcy case, and pay off the filing fee during your case.

Permission to do so is only given when the judge is persuaded by testimony given under oath that usually you cannot afford to pay the entire filing fee, and are not filing bankruptcy to forestall eviction from residential premises occupied on a month-to-month tenancy or on a tenancy at will, or for any improper purpose.

Orange County, Central District of California Installment Plan for Filing Fee

To request a waiver, you must fill out a waiver form here.

The procedure for requesting permission to pay the fee for filing a bankruptcy case in installments is as follows:

1. Tell the Intake clerk that you wish to request permission from the Court to pay the filing fee in installments.

2. Complete the “Application for Individuals to Pay the Filing Fee in Installments (form B 3A).”

3. Return the completed application form and your filing papers, i.e., petition, to the Intake filing window.

4. Be prepared to show the clerk a California driver’s license, California identification card, or other similar form of identification.

5. Ask the clerk for the name of the judge who will rule on your motion, the time and location of a hearing, if a hearing is required.

Per the Installment Fee Form:

You must appear at the hearing if required to.  Failure to appear will not only result in denial of your request, but you might also be prohibited from filing a bankruptcy case for 180 days.

Additionally, if you appear at the hearing, but your request is ultimately denied, your will be ordered to pay the filing fee. If you do not pay the fee within the time ordered by the judge, than your case will be dismissed.  Moreover, you might also be prohibited from filing another bankruptcy case for 180 days.

Both of these above scenarios might disrupt your protections under the bankruptcy code.

According to the central district website, if your application is granted, you will need to make your first payment immediately after the hearing.  You can spread the fees over four payments at the most.  You must pay the fees in full no later than 120 days from the date of filing your bankruptcy case.  If you do not make your payments on time, your case can be dismissed without notice and/or hearing.