Is Credit Counselling Required When Filing for Bankruptcy?

When a person files for bankruptcy, they usually fall into one of two different categories: Either they know exactly what led to their insurmountable debt, or they have absolutely no idea how they ended up in their predicament. No matter which camp you’re in, if you’re going to file for bankruptcy you are going to need to sign up for and complete two separate educational courses before your debt can be discharged

To access both courses, visit the U.S. Trustee’s website and look for the link for “Credit Counseling & Debtor Education.” There you will find a list of approved credit counseling agencies that are divided by court jurisdiction. All of these agencies charge fees that can be reduced if you can show that they are beyond your ability to pay, and waived if your income is below 150% of the poverty level for your family size. Fees usually range from fee to $50 dollars.

The first course that you will take will review your debts and income to determine whether you actually need to file for bankruptcy or are able to create a payment plan that will allow you to get out of debt. This determination will be based on your financial situation as provided by your having filled out all of the official bankruptcy forms. Once you’ve completed the course you will be provided with a certification of completion along with your paperwork and a copy of a repayment plan if the agency believes that one is feasible. This first course will be the beginning of the counseling that you will receive on topics like budgeting based on your income and expenses.

If the agency determines that a repayment plan might work, you are required to submit it to the bankruptcy court, but not required to adhere to its terms, but there is a good chance that if the court agrees with the agency they may require you to (at the least) choose a Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead of a Chapter 7 filing.

After you’ve officially filed for bankruptcy, you will be required to take a second court, which is focused on debtor education. This course is focused on educating you about how better to manage your finances so that you can avoid making the same mistakes again and can work towards rebuilding your credit. You’ll be provided with a second certificate of completion for this second course, which must be filed within sixty days of your first meeting with your creditors.

Bankruptcy is not a simple process, but it is made easier with the help and guidance of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. To set up a time to discuss your situation, call us today.