50 State Means Test Calculators

District of Columbia
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia



10/12/06 - Can you still file for bankruptcy? Online calculator will tell you.


11/02/06 - Noted in MSNBC.com's Personal Finance section.

"[The means test] is not a straightforward calculation, which is why Renauer created a free online calculator to help people understand their options—and that they still have options."


Welcome, users of Nolo's

How to File for Chapter 7 BankruptcyHow to File For Bakruptcy

LegalConsumer.com helps you find local information and services to help you file for bankruptcy.

If you don't own the book, you can still use this site and the free means test calculator.

Don't own a copy?

Learn more...

How to File For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy (Nolo, 16th ed, 2009)

Buy or download now @
Nolo (publisher)

In Paperback and eBook (Adobe Reader)
Pub. Date: Apr 2006
Edition: 16th
Pages: 544 pp
ISBN: 9781413310603
Forms: 38 forms

Buy & download now @
Nolo (publisher)

Book version also available @

Press Reviews

"Exceptionally clear."
The New York Times
"How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy advises on everything from how to file court papers to how to respond to threats from creditors.... A do-it-yourself bankruptcy book for people who can’t afford expensive lawyers."
"An in-depth guide to filing under Chapter 7, including state-by-state and federal exemptions as well as forms for do-it-yourself filers."
Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine
"Can help you decide if bankruptcy is the right option for you."
Detroit News
"A valuable, easy-to-understand workbook."
Los Angeles Times
"Includes clear instructions on when and how to fill out all the necessary forms, which assets you may legally keep, even advice on whether your case is complicated enough to make it worth your while to hire a lawyer."
"The best [bankruptcy books] I know are published by Nolo."
Harry S. Gross, host of
“Speaking of Your Money”
"Covers all the recent changes to the bankruptcy law, and shows you how to get through the entire process with the least damage."
Accounting Today

Customer Review

"I bit the bullet, and purchased Nolo's How to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. I represented myself in court and I was granted a discharge of all debts five months later."
Danielle A.,
Richmond, VA

Buy & Download now: Nolo (publisher) :: Amazon

Why this site exists

The Bankruptcy site (2006 to date)

As a coauthor of Nolo's How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, (now in its 18th edition) I've spent years trying to make filing for bankruptcy as easy and non-threatening as possible. In 2005, the US Congress enacted sweeping changes to the bankruptcy law to make filing for bankruptcy considerably more costly and intimidating. When this law was passed, I vowed to do something about it. This site is the result.

I believe that anyone considering bankruptcy should be able to quickly and easily learn about the full range of resources available them -- free information, low cost high quality books, online services, forms preparation services, and full service bankruptcy lawyers. I've attempted to gather and organize all that information and present it in one place.

The 2005 bankruptcy law makes it even more important that you get accurate information before you act. The new law sticks it to debtors in several ways, primarily by making the process of filing for bankruptcy more expensive, more cumbersome, and less forgiving. There are more forms, less flexible deadlines, and more ways to screw up. In some cases, a creditor has the right to demand that the judge automatically dismiss your bankruptcy case if you miss a single filing requirement.

Even with all of these new rules, bankruptcy still offers extremely powerful legal rights to debtors who qualify. Consequently, it's vital that you become fully informed of your legal rights and obligations as a debtor who is considering bankruptcy. I hope this site helps you do that.

I also realize, as an author, that books are great -- you can write notes in the margin, attach post-its, and they don't need a battery, or a computer or wi-fi to work. But providing detailed 50 state information in a book can get rather unwieldy.

So, this website provides a way to deliver certain types of information in more detail, on a local level -- about specific things things like the means test and state exemptions -- that are not possible with a book.

But this website is not a substitute for the book, or for a lawyer. It only covers a few specific topics and cannot give advice about whether bankruptcy is the best choice for someone in your particular financial circumstances.

The Obamacare Info Site (2013 to date)

When I started LegalConsumer.com, I never imagined it would be only about bankruptcy. Over time, I plan to expand the site to other areas where localized information can help people get the rights and benefits that are coming to them.

This summer, with the approach of the implementation of Obamacare, I had the idea to apply my ZIP Code based technology to the problem of getting factual, accurate information about Obamacare to people in each state.

For more informaiton about the Obamacare site click here.

Who's behind it

Proud member of NACBA
NACBA Member

This site is more or less a one-man show (with a little help from friends). I'm the owner of RelationalVision,LLC that operates the site, and am the designer, writer, and programmer; a computer geek. I'm a lawyer but on inactive status - (I don't take individual cases) and a member of the California Bar.

I earned my law degree and was a Law Review editor at the University of Michigan Law School (Go Blue!).

After dabbling in public interest law in San Francisco in the early 80's, I joined the staff of the late Chief Justice Rose Bird for her final two years on the California Supreme Court.

After Justice Bird lost her confirmation election in 1986, I wanted to make an honest living using computers to make the legal system more accessible. With that in mind, I began a fruitful 17-year relationship with the great folks at Nolo, the pioneering do-it-yourself legal publisher in Berkeley, California. At Nolo, I researched, edited and wrote law books, developed legal software, managed the Nolo website (and won a Webby Award!), and developed a keen interest in exploring new ways to harness the power of internet technology and relational databases as a way to make legal information more accessible.

In 2004 I left Nolo and launched the LegalConsumer.com website to pursue new, experimental ways to "mash-up" Internet technology with relational databases to deliver high-quality, useful, localized legal information to consumers. The topic of bankruptcy, was a natural subject to start with given my 15+ years as a coauthor of Nolo's book on Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Although I live in California, my Midwestern roots run deep. I grew up in the Detroit area and am a fanatical Detroit Tigers fan. Being raised in a working class family in the so-called "rust belt," and then attending an elite college and law school, gave me a personal view of two very different worlds.

I realize that the legal system is too expensive for many people. That's why I wrote books and software for Nolo for 17 years. That's why I made this website. If you decide to hire a lawyer (and that is a sensible option for many) I hope this website helps you choose wisely.

Best of luck in dealing with your financial troubles. It's an important task for you and your family. It's good that you are making the effort to learn about your options. You can get through this. I hope this site makes that task a little easier.

Albin Renauer, RelationalVision, LLC
coauthor of How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy (Nolo)

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Website and calculator content by Albin Renauer, co-author of How to File For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy (Nolo 2007)
LegalConsumer.com website & means test calculator © 2008 RelationalVision, LLC. All rights reserved.