Before your debts can be discharged in either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings, you must complete a credit counseling and debtors education course. The purpose of these courses are to teach you how to manage money and use your credit more cautiously after your debts are discharged.
It is very important to meet these requirements because the court may dismiss your case and not discharge your debts if you do not. If this happens and the court dismisses your case you will then need to file a motion, pay fees and reopen your case so that you are able to present certifications of completion. You must obtain the credit counseling from an approved organization within 180 days before you file and you must complete the debtors education course before debts can officially be discharged.
Preliminary bankruptcy credit counseling and debtors education courses may not be done at the same time. Credit counseling needs to take place before you file for bankruptcy and debtors education courses must take place after you file. Once you complete your credit counseling course you must file a certificate of completion at the same time that you file for bankruptcy. Keep in mind that when you are in the process of choosing a credit counseling agency, a preliminary bankruptcy session should take place. These sessions usually includes an evaluation of your financial situation, alternatives to bankruptcy and a budget plan.
If you are unable to pay for the bankruptcy session, credit counseling organizations are required to provide counseling for free. If this is your current situation, obtain a fee waiver prior to the start of the session. Debtor education courses typically includes information on developing a budget, managing money, and using credit wisely. As with preliminary bankruptcy counseling, if you can’t afford the session fee, ask the debtor education provider to waive it. Once you have completed the required debtor education course, you should receive a certificate as proof.
If you are in the process of filing for bankruptcy and need help with the preliminary process, contact an experienced attorney today. The Goldbach Law Group is here to help!