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Bankruptcy requirements: counseling and education sessions

In Florida and all other states, excepting North Carolina and Alabama, the U.S. Trustee Program administered by the United States Department of Justice has plenary regulatory and oversight powers over counseling and education requirements regarding bankruptcy.

A consumer information pamphlet written by the Federal Trade Commission sets forth those requirements in some detail. We pass along some relevant information from the tract in today’s blog post for our readers in Florida and elsewhere, given its central importance in the bankruptcy process. We hope that the information is both informative and helpful for would-be bankruptcy filers, who can fully flesh out important points and details through consultation with an experienced and client-empathetic debt relief attorney.

Many consumers throughout the country might be unaware that filing for bankruptcy entails two distinct duties regarding counseling and debtor education, respectively.

For starters, federal law puts an onus upon every person or couple intending to file for bankruptcy protection to complete a credit counseling program within 180 days of filing.

And that means prior to filing. As noted by the FTC, “a typical counseling session should last about 60 to 90 minutes.” The requirement can be satisfied via a face-to-face meeting with an approved counseling organization and also by phone or online. A certificate is required as proof that this duty was complied with.

Following completion of the counseling requirement, and after a bankruptcy filing is initiated, the debtor education requirement kicks in. Again, the providing organization must be approved by the U.S. Trustee Program, and a certificate of completion must be obtained by the debtor. The session typically lasts about two hours.

These two separate duties are threshold requirements relating to bankruptcy. As stated, a proven bankruptcy attorney can provide detailed information concerning these exactions, as well as provide comprehensive client representation at every stage of the process.

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