The least expensive way is to consult with 3 attorneys and hire the attorney you are most comfortable with. Cost should not be the driving factor in filing bankruptcy. Most people who file bankruptcy without the assistance of an attorney mess it up in some way or end up losing things they don't have to. So in that sense, it usually costs MORE to file without an attorney.
The court filing fee, as of June 1, will be $335.00.
Attorney fees range from about $800 to $5,000.
To echo what Matthew Berkus said, as hard as it might be, ignore the costs. There is an admission price to get a discharge of your debts and the peace of mind that will follow. Better to hire someone to look into your situation and advise you about what might happen and develop a strategy. Consult with more than one attorney (many give you a free consultation) to get a sense of costs and to find someone you will trust. Too often, people will go it alone and end up getting stumped by the process or having their case delayed or even dismissed because they were unaware of something that needed to be disclosed or planned for. All too often people will delay because they feel they cannot afford an attorney and then worse things happen. Good luck.
The cost will depend upon a variety of factors including the level of difficulty in preparing and/or advancing your case, whether you are stripping off liens, what type of bankruptcy is best for to file and the level of service that you need or require to assist you in gathering the paperwork necessary to file. You should consult with experienced bankruptcy counsel in your area and choose someone with whom you feel comfortable.
Here is a list from least expensive and least advisable to higher cost and higher advisability
1) Do it yourself..
2) Check in your area to see if any of the legal aid companies offer bankruptcy help.
3) Hire a document preparation company, file it your self and attend any hearings on your own.
4) Hire a document preparation company have them file it, and attend any hearings on your own.
5) Hire the cheapest law firm you can find on the internet and attend any hearings on your own.
6) Hire the second cheapest law firm you can find and have someone you never met show up for any hearings you may have.
7) Hire an experienced Bankruptcy attorney that will meet with you personally, completely learn your financial circumstances and your goals, give you options and enough information for you to make a decision, prepare or have their employees prepare the paperwork, assure that you review and fully understand the paperwork, and personally attend each hearing with you, and walk with you side by side throughout the process always willing to respond to inquiries.
Anything other than number #2 or #7 above is likely to lead to confusion, uncertainty, stress, and potential failure.
That's my 2 cents. But, I am biased because I do this for a living and know what can happen.
Kevin A. Spainhour, Esq. - Hopefully this information is helpful. My answering this question giving my general thoughts does not create an attorney/client relationship and is not a legal opinion. The only way to create an attorney client relationship is to retain our services and that can be done over the phone, email or in person.