It is easy to qualify for Chapter 13 so long as you are an individual (not a corporation or other business entity) and your secured debt is less than $1,010,000 and your unsecured debt is less than $339,000. That covers most individuals.
It is Chapter 7 that got harder when the laws changed in 2005 in a sweeping bankruptcy reform called BAPCPA.
However, we are finding more and more that BAPCPA is not preventing people from filing Chapter 7. If you’re under the median income for a California household of your size it is no obstacle at all. It is only over the median income debtors that BAPCPA tries to put up road blocks to filing under Chapter 7.
BAPCPA was remarkably unsuccessful in that goal. It is surprising how many over the median income debtors qualify for Chapter 7. The main reason in California is that our mortgages are so high. We spend inordinate amounts on our housing and that is what helps more over the median income debtors pass the means test. If you own a house and have kids, you are probably a shoe in for passing the means test even if your income is tens of thousands above the median.
Rather than trying to guess whether you pass if you’re above the median income, a qualified bankruptcy attorney can ask you a few questions and probably tell you whether you pass without necessarily doing the full means test.