Attorney fees are a reality in chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy if you want to succeed. I understand the fact you are now in a desperate financial situation, and likely the last thing you have is money to pay a lawyer and filing costs. The problem you face is that bankruptcy is a difficult process filed with traps and pitfalls for the unaware,
Bankruptcy is not something to negotiate on your own. I am reminded of a scene from the second Addams Family Movie. Gomez is sitting in a motel room, unshaven, staring into the camera and says:
“They say the man who represents himself in court has a fool for a lawyer. I am that fool.”
It sounded funny in the movie, but in bankruptcy court it is a harsh reality. Misapplication of the exemptions alone can expose you to the loss of property the law says you can otherwise keep. That happens if you don’t claim the full Ohio exemption in Schedule C. You don’t claim it, your trustee can collect it, sell it, and pay out the proceeds to your creditors. If you try represent yourself the judge will assume you have the seasoned knowledge of an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. This is just one example there are many others.
How can you pay attorney fees in bankruptcy when funds are tight? Best thing is to not wait until you get to that point. Otherwise, you should immediately stop paying the bills that you plan to discharge in the bankruptcy. Pay for the things you want to keep such as rent, mortgage and car payments. Pay for regular living expenses including current utility bills (past due amounts can be discharged). This should free up sufficient funds to easily pay a competent Westlake bankruptcy attorney.
If you have already stopped paying the bills, then you might want to tap your 401k, but only to the extent necessary to fund the bankruptcy filing. If that is not an option then you will need help from friends or family.
Hiring even the most expensive chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer will cost you less in attorney fees than you would pay for a divorce lawyer, or a drunk driving attorney. The bankruptcy results will be quicker and much more satisfying.