There is no minimum amount of debt necessary in order to file for protection under the bankruptcy code. However one needs to look at their situation to determine if filing a bankruptcy is the best move. For example, you owe $5,000.00 which you could pay back in full within the next 4 months. In such a situation bankruptcy would generally not be the right move unless your bank account is frozen or your personal property is scheduled for a sheriff sale.
On the other hand, if you owe $20,000 in debt and you are only paying the minimum payment each month, even though you are fully current on the bills , bankruptcy may be a very good idea. Many people who come in to file bankruptcy are fully up to date on all of their bills, but the problem is that the bills never seem to go down. The bill looks the same each month even though you are making payments on the bills.
Other situations in which bankruptcy can be a good idea is a case in which your car has been repossessed. You must get the car back in order to go to work. Even though the car debt is your only debt, bankruptcy can make sense since by filing a Chapter 13 Petition you can prevent the repossession of your car, or get the car returned to you if it has been recently repossessed but not yet sold by the creditor.
If your home is in foreclosure and the mortgage company refuses to work with you and you are not able to get a loan modification, then even though you may have no other debts, the ability to use Chapter 13 Bankruptcy to protect your home which will allow to get up to five years to get caught up with the mortgage may be a very important consideration for you in deciding whether to file bankruptcy.