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Debtor education you need before and after bankruptcy

If you decide to file for bankruptcy protection, the procedure will involve more than you may realize. In order to receive a discharge in either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must complete counseling and education requirements approved by the U.S. Trustee Program of the Department of Justice. This may seem a bit overwhelming, but the process is not as difficult or time-consuming as it sounds, and the information provided is designed to help you begin a fresh, new financial life.

Understanding the requirements

You are required to have credit counseling before you file for bankruptcy, and the certificate of completion that you receive must be filed at the same time. After you have filed Chapter 7 or 13, you must complete debtor education before your debts can be discharged. Only credit counseling and debt education providers approved by the U.S. Trustee Program can issue the certificates you need. Produced through an automated system, these are numbered in order to protect against fraud.

What credit counseling entails

A pre-bankruptcy counseling session can take place in person, by phone or online. This is a session of 60 to 90 minutes on average, during which your personal financial situation will be evaluated. You should expect information about alternatives to bankruptcy along with the structuring of a personal budget plan. If you cannot afford to pay for the counseling, you should ask for a fee waiver. The counselor must discuss fees with you before the session begins. When you have completed counseling, you will be provided with the certificate you need to file with bankruptcy court.

What debtor education includes

Post-filing debtor education will provide you with useful information about managing money, developing a budget and using credit. Like credit counseling, you can take this course in person, over the phone or online. This session usually takes about two hours, and many people like the internet option because of its flexibility; you can take the course at your own pace, on your own schedule. Once you complete the course, you will receive a certificate of completion, which provides the proof you need to have your debts discharged.

How to choose a credit counselor

Your bankruptcy attorney can answer any questions you have about before-and-after-bankruptcy debtor education requirements, and can guide you in choosing a government-approved credit counselor. Be prepared to ask questions of the provider you decide to contact. Ask, for example, what qualifications the counselor has, what kind of information the counseling organization will keep about you, what the fee is and whether that can be waived if necessary. Your attorney can help you navigate the entire bankruptcy procedure and put you on the road to a healthy financial future.

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    Posted by MaryDecember 11, 2015

    "I am overwhelmed by your response to my call, even 10 years after my bankruptcy was discharged. You have more knowledge and expertise than I could have imagined. Because of you, my fears have been put to rest. For that, I'm so very grateful. Thank you many times over. "

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    Posted by ClientOctober 26, 2010

    "... I was extremely impressed with Charles' understanding of the bankruptcy laws to the extent that I felt certain that my best interests were always at the forefront. "

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    Posted by MarleneJanuary 8, 2014

    He helped me thru my 1st bankruptcy and now the second. I had no idea what to expect , but they kept me informed and answered all my questions. Mr. Schneider is the most experienced and knowledgeable lawyer I have ever met. If you have to file call this attorney first!

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