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What are the credit counseling course requirements for filing bankruptcy?

Learn about the two courses you must take when filing for bankruptcy. Discover the rules about the courses and what they will teach you.

Bankruptcy laws require that every filer take two different credit and debt-related courses to finalize a bankruptcy petition. The courses must have approval from the U.S. Trustee Program, and may take the form of phone, online or in-person classes. Every person who files for bankruptcy must take both of these courses.

Credit counseling

The first course that a person must take is credit counseling. The filer must complete the course prior to filing the bankruptcy petition. The course completion must occur within the 180 days prior to the bankruptcy request. Anyone filing jointly must ensure both parties complete the court and receive certificates. The course provider must provide the filer or the court with a certificate verifying the person completed the course and upon what date the competition happened.

The credit counseling course will look at budgeting and the use of credit. It will help a person understand their personal financial situation better and enable them to see how they ended up in debt.

Debt education

After filing for bankruptcy, the law requires the completion of another course. The debt education course is mandatory for Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 filers. Individuals must provide proof of completion before the court will issue a bankruptcy discharge.

The debt education course covers personal finances and how to manage them. It will teach about budgets and help provide information that will prevent a person from getting too far in debt in the future. The idea is to help educate filers on the factors that may have led them to have to file for bankruptcy and to give them tools to enable them to avoid having to file again in the future.

Important information

It is impossible for Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 filers to avoid taking these courses. They are a mandatory requirement under federal bankruptcy law. The various companies offering the courses try to make the process as convenient as possible. Most will provide an online option that allows a person to take the course on their own schedule.

While the courses do cost money, companies also provide options to waive the fees or get a discount on them. Not being able to afford to take them is not an excuse the bankruptcy court will accept.

Anyone struggling with the course requirements should speak with their bankruptcy attorney. If a person is trying to file without legal representation, he or she should consider scheduling a free consultation with the Miami bankruptcy law firm of Kingcade Garcia McMaken, to avoid making mistakes that could negatively impact their bankruptcy case.

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