Bankruptcy Lawyers
South Carolina


New Federal Guidelines Allow Payment Plans for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy form and gavel on office desk.

A financial reset is now more achievable than ever.

If you're dealing with overwhelming unsecured debt, such as credit cards, personal loans, or medical debt, Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be your lifeline. However, the cost of hiring an attorney to file Chapter 7 has been a significant challenge for some debtors.

Benjamin R. Matthews & Associates, LLC, has been fighting for more accessible bankruptcy solutions for South Carolina debtors for many years. Now, we are proud to announce we're offering a new bifurcated fee agreement, in compliance with guidelines set by the Office of the United States Trustee, to make a financial reset more accessible for South Carolinians in need of a fresh start.

How our new fee arrangement for Chapter 7 bankruptcy works.

A "bifurcated" fee is simply a fee split into two parts, one before and one after the bankruptcy is filed. Here's how it works:

  • You pay our firm $438 upfront to start the process of filing your case. That includes the $338 court filing fee, plus $100 to cover our administrative expenses, such as the cost of getting your credit report and contacting your creditors. Once we have the fee in hand, we'll move quickly to file your case and get you debt relief. You pay today; we file tomorrow.
  • Once the bankruptcy is filed and the "automatic stay" goes into effect to block collection action, you pay $200 per month for 10 months to cover the attorney's fee. This isn't another loan, just a payment in installments with no interest.

This means you don't have to come up with a large lump sum out of pocket while you are still dealing with overwhelming debt and have creditors breathing down your neck. Instead, you pay the bulk of the fee only after your bankruptcy is filed and the collection calls stop.

To qualify for this payment plan, you must have an income of at least $2,000 per month, in addition to the usual Chapter 7 eligibility requirements. We also require you to use a debit card for the payment plan.

These new guidelines address a major barrier to Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Before these new guidelines, Chapter 7 created a Catch-22 for debtors: they need debt relief and likely can't afford to pay an attorney out of pocket, but they also couldn't set up a payment plan because the attorney's fee would thus become another debt that would be discharged in the bankruptcy itself.

Historically, most people filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy had to pay the entire fee upfront, which is a heavy lift when you're already behind on your credit cards and other debt payments. Unfortunately, this also meant some people were forced to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy (which makes payment plans easier), even though Chapter 7 would've been in their interest.

These new guidelines make it easier than ever to access Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and we have the experience, resources, and administrative support to help South Carolinians find a path to debt relief. Is it time for a financial reset? Contact us for a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation with a bankruptcy attorney.

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2010 Gadsden Street
Columbia, SC 29201

Phone (803) 799-1700
Fax (803) 728-6718

331 E. Main St, Suite 257
Rock Hill, SC 29730

Phone (803) 909-9377
Fax (803) 728-6718