First, I would suggest consulting with an attorney. If you really look at your income and expenses and go through a schedule I & J you can project a realistic budget that will have less than $100 per month in disposible income. Even the means test
, from my experience can be figured out with a little planning to qualify you for a 7 if you make less than $7000 to $8000 per month.
If it ends up that you can't do that honestly/realistically, then the 13 would be an option. You can typically find an attorney who will do the 13 for maybe $1000 to $2000 up front depending on the complexity and then the remainder of the legal fees to be paid through the plan. I have sometimes seen attorneys take only $500 up front (even $0.00 once or twice), although its not very common.
The cool thing about bankruptcy attorneys is that first, you can almost always find a few in your area who will do free initial consultations and get some good advice that way and second, they are usually the most affordable attorneys you will find and want to help you out/figure out a way to get the fees paid.
The filing fee for a Chapter 13 is $274. For a 7 its $299. You would also have to take a pre-filing and pre-discharge debtor education course, each one runs between $15 and $50 typically.
I ABSOLUTELY WOULD NOT RECOMMEND USING A PARALEGAL OR LEGAL DOCUMENT SERVICE. ESPECIALLY FOR A 13. I just had dinner with a bankruptcy judge the other night who was explaining to me that he hasn't been able to confirm one, not even one, Chapter 13 Plan filed by a pro se (self-represented) since the new laws went into effect. He is a very debtor friendly judge from my experience too. Bankruptcy is a complicated area of the law and the forms need to be filled out right. The paralegals/document services just basically type the forms for you, they don't do the legal work needed to protect your rights.
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