Bankruptcy Credit Counseling – before you can file for a chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must consult with a nonprofit bankruptcy credit counseling agency. The purpose of the bankruptcy credit counseling is to see whether there is a way to pay back your creditors outside of bankruptcy, without adding to what you owe.
You must show that you received bankruptcy credit counseling from an agency approved by the U.S. Trustee’s office within the 180-days period BEFORE you file a chapter 13 or chapter 7 bankruptcy. For a list of approved bankruptcy counseling programs go to the U.S. Trustee’s website at www.usdoj.gov/ust and click on “Credit Counseling & Debtor Education”.
The law requires only that you participate – not that you go along with whatever the bankruptcy counseling counseling suggests. Even if a repayment plan is feasible, you are not required to agree to it. However, if the agency does come up with a plan, you must file it along with the other required bankruptcy paperwork.
Also, you must receive a “Certificate of Completion” from the bankruptcy credit counseling agency. You must file this certificate with your other bankruptcy papers.
Most of these bankruptcy credit counseling agencies charge around $25-$50 for the bankruptcy credit counseling, certificate, and coming up with a plan. However agencies are legally required to offer their services without regard to your ability to pay. (11 U.S.C. 111(c)(2)(B).
AFTER you file, a chapter 13 or chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must attend a two-hour course on managing finances in order to receive a bankruptcy discharge. You must take this course from an agency approved by the U.S. Trustee Program (for a list of approved courses go to the U.S. Trustee’s website at www.usdoj.gov/ust and click on “Credit Counseling & Debtor Education.
Contact CJ and the Remboldt Law Firm, LLC to answer your questions at 404-348-4081 and to schedule a FREE bankruptcy consultation by phone or in person.