Cost to File Bankruptcy in Iowa (2024)

Bankruptcy can feel like an overwhelming journey, but understanding the cost to file and the estimated bankruptcy attorney fees in Iowa is the first step.
Information in this article does not constitute legal advice, it is for informational purposes only, and may not constitute the most up-to-date information. Readers should contact their attorney for advice on any particular legal matter.

So you're thinking about filing for bankruptcy in Iowa, but you're not sure how much it's going to cost you. The cost of filing for bankruptcy in Iowa is $338 for Chapter 7 and $313 for Chapter 13 in 2024.

First things first, let's talk about attorney fees. We did some digging and found that the range for Chapter 7 attorney fees in Iowa is roughly between $1,170 and $1,500. Keep in mind, though, that this is just an estimate. If you want a more accurate figure based on your specific location in Iowa, we've got a bankruptcy cost calculator for you to use below.

If you’re wondering how can you afford bankruptcy when you're already struggling to pay your bills. The filing fee and credit counseling courses for bankruptcy are pretty similar across the board. It's the attorney fees that can vary depending on where you are in Iowa. Whether you're in Des Moines or Cedar Rapids, the cost could be quite different.

So, to sum it all up, this article is here to give you an idea of the total costs involved in filing for bankruptcy in Iowa. We'll cover two main expenses:

  1. Bankruptcy Attorney Fees
  2. Bankruptcy Filing Costs

Estimate the All-In Bankruptcy Cost in Your Zip Code

We've been getting a ton of questions about the cost of bankruptcy in Iowa. We went ahead and created a super handy database of attorney fees just for you! To find out how much bankruptcy might cost you in your specific city in Iowa, all you need to do is enter your zip code below. Our nifty cost estimator will do the rest. 

Table of Contents

1. Actual Lawyer Costs By District In Iowa

Even though we've included a range of bankruptcy attorneys' fees above, the precise cost will fluctuate based on a few distinct factors. The final price is determined by several variables, such as the bankruptcy lawyer's experience, location, level of attorney relationship, and complexity of the case. But since location is crucial, let's look at the Iowa bankruptcy district map and the real costs derived from Pacer filing data.

See the map below to determine which district you reside in, then scroll down to see actual legal fees.

Map of Northern and Southern Districts in Iowa

Iowa Northern District

Covering a considerable area, the Northern District of Iowa includes major cities like Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, and Mason City. Operating within the Central Time zone, this district encompasses 52 counties. It features a central courthouse in Cedar Rapids and additional court facilities throughout the district, overseen by 4 active district judges and 2 magistrate judges. The diverse economic activities and vibrant communities in Iowa's Northern District contribute to the overall richness of the region.

For residents in proximity to these major areas within Iowa's Northern District, the expected bankruptcy filing cost can vary, often falling within a range from $1,375.00 to $2,800.00. It's crucial to bear in mind that this is an estimate, and actual expenses may fluctuate based on factors such as your financial situation and the choice of legal representation.

Iowa Southern District

Encompassing a substantial region, the Southern District of Iowa includes major cities like Des Moines, Davenport, and Sioux City. Operating within the Central Time zone, this district spans 47 counties. It features a central courthouse in Des Moines and additional court facilities throughout the district, overseen by 5 active district judges and 2 magistrate judges. The diverse economic activities and vibrant communities in Iowa's Southern District contribute to the overall richness of the region.

For residents in proximity to these major areas within Iowa's Southern District, the expected bankruptcy filing cost can vary, often falling within a range from $1,100.00 to $1,300.00. It's crucial to bear in mind that this is an estimate, and actual expenses may fluctuate based on factors such as your financial situation and the choice of legal representation.

2. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney Fees Iowa

Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys in Iowa can charge around $3,000 for their services. The actual fee may vary depending on the district you're in. Now, when it comes to Chapter 7 attorney fees, they can differ quite a bit. However, for Chapter 13, things are a little more consistent. There's this concept called "no-look fees," which means there's a set fee that's considered reasonable for the service provided. So, you can expect the fees to be somewhat similar across different attorneys. It's always a good idea to check if the attorney charges an hourly rate for any extra work that may come up after you've filed for Chapter 13. It's better to be aware of any potential costs upfront.

3. Bankruptcy Filing Costs

Bankruptcy filing costs can be quite similar no matter where you are in the United States, not just in Iowa.

Bankruptcy Filing Fees

The US Courthouse has a fee schedule and bankruptcy forms that lays it all out for you.

Now, if you're going for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the filing fee is $338. That's broken down into a $245 filing fee, a $78 administrative fee, and a $15 trustee surcharge.

If Chapter 13 bankruptcy seems more like the way to go, the filing fee is a bit lower at $313. That includes a $235 filing fee and a $78 administrative fee

If you're strapped for cash and can't afford the filing fee. There might be some options for you. You could pay the fee in installments or it could be waived altogether.

Iowa Filing Fee Waiver Guidelines

If you're below 150% of the Iowa poverty guidelines, you might just be eligible. Be sure to check out Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Iowa Income Limit.

For cases filed within Iowa in 2022, here are the poverty guidelines based on the number of people in your household: 

  • If it's just you, the guideline is $13,590.
  • For two, the guideline goes up to $18,310.
  • For three The number rises to $23,030.
  • For four The guideline is $27,750. 
  • For five it's $32,470. 
  • For six it’s $37,190. 
  • For seven it’s $41,910. 
  • For eight it’s $46,630. 
  • For nine it’s $51,350. 

If you have more than nine individuals in your household, you'll need to add $4,720 for each extra person. So, if your income falls below these guidelines, you might be eligible to have those Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing fees waived. 

Mandatory Course Costs

When you're in a tough financial spot and decide to file for bankruptcy, there are a couple of courses you need to take in Iowa. Don't worry, though, you can usually do them online! First up is the credit counseling course, where you'll learn some valuable tips and tricks for managing your money. It's important to note that the course has to be approved, so make sure to check out the list of approved Iowa credit counseling courses. For the cost, on average, it's around $10 to $50 per course. Once you've completed the credit counseling course, it's time for the debtor education course. This one is all about helping you get back on your feet financially after bankruptcy. Just like the credit counseling course, it needs to be approved too. So, take a look at the list of approved Iowa debtor education courses.

Miscellaneous Costs

If you've got a meeting of creditors coming up at the courthouse, it's important to know that you might have to shell out some cash for transportation to get there. On top of that, you might also have to cover the cost of a credit report for your attorney. Your attorney might be able to lend a hand with getting that credit report sorted. Let's talk numbers. You're probably wondering how much this whole transportation thing is gonna set you back.

We’ve made it easier for you to figure that out by hovering over to your district using this interactive map below showing bankruptcy courthouses in Iowa by district and looking up your nearest bankruptcy court.

Will Inflation Affect the Cost To File Bankruptcy in Iowa?

Let's dig into whether inflation might have an impact on the filing fee and attorney costs in Iowa. Now, the Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing fee got a little update. It went from $335 to $338. And for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the fee went from $310 to $313. These changes came into effect on December 1st, 2020. But hey, with such a tiny increase, I wouldn't expect the filing fee to hurt you. However, when it comes to attorney fees, things might be a bit different. You might see some inflation affecting those costs. See, inflation can make bankruptcy attorneys pay more to their employees and deal with higher living costs themselves, especially in cities like Cedar Rapids or Davenport, or all across Iowa. So, while the filing fee may not be a big concern, attorney fees could be influenced by inflation. 

Would My Bankruptcy Cost Be Higher in Des Moines Than in Davenport?

So, you're living in a suburb in Iowa and you're facing the daunting decision of whether to hire a local attorney or head to a bigger city like Cedar Rapids for your bankruptcy needs.

Now, you might think that living in Des Moines, the bustling city with the highest population in Iowa, would mean higher bankruptcy attorney fees compared to a smaller place like Davenport.

While it's true that the cost of bankruptcy may be higher in Des Moines, there's a silver lining. You see, with more bankruptcy attorneys setting up shop in the city, there's fierce competition going on. So, it's entirely possible that the total cost of filing bankruptcy, including those pesky attorney fees, could be much higher in your little corner of the world than in Des Moines.

Most bankruptcy attorneys offer free bankruptcy consultations. You can get multiple perspectives without spending a dime. And if that's not enough, we've got a bankruptcy cost calculator down below that takes all these variables into account. It'll give you an all-in cost estimate, so you can plan your financial future with confidence.

Why Do Some Attorneys Charge Higher Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Fees? 

If you're considering filing for bankruptcy and you want to know how much it's going to cost you. The cost of hiring a bankruptcy attorney can vary depending on a few factors.

Let's start with Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Now, in places like Davenport, attorneys usually charge a fixed fee for their services. It's called a "no-look fee" and it's the same for everyone.

When it comes to Chapter 7, the attorney's fee can vary quite a bit. And that's where you need to be careful. You don't want to end up paying more than you should. So, let's break it down for you.

The cost of a bankruptcy lawyer is influenced by a few key factors:

  1. The type of bankruptcy you're filing. Is it Chapter 7 or Chapter 13?
  2. The complexity of your case. Do you have any assets or is it a no-asset case?
  3. Your location. Are you in Des Moines or Cedar Rapids?
  4. The level of connection you have with your attorney. Do they know you well or are you just another client?
  5. The attorney's expertise. How many years of experience do they have under their belt?

Let's say you're making a decent income, let's say $10,000 above the median for Iowa. And you still want to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Well, in that case, your attorney might have to put in some extra time and effort to review your expenses and see if you qualify. Which means a higher overall cost for you.

If you want to dive deeper into the world of bankruptcy lawyer fees. Check out this article: Understanding Bankruptcy Lawyer Fees. It'll give you all the details you need to make an informed decision.


I hope this article has given you some helpful info to understand the all-in costs of filing for bankruptcy with a lawyer. But hey, if you still have questions, don't hesitate to reach out. And if you wanna get a quick estimate of the costs specific to Iowa, check out the free Iowa bankruptcy cost calculator below.

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