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Credit Counseling for Bankruptcy

credit counseling for bankruptcyIf you are reading this blog, you or a loved one are likely considering bankruptcy. There is probably a lot going through your mind, and the process may be more complicated than you originally thought. Unfortunately, we can’t just say “I declare bankruptcy” and have that be that. It’s a process, but not one you can’t handle. One step in that process is credit counseling for bankruptcy. Who knew you had to complete pre-bankruptcy credit counseling? Luckily for you, we know all about it! 

Credit Counseling for Bankruptcy – What is It?

Essentially, when you file for bankruptcy, you must obtain two separate certificates to certify that you’ve undergone financial counseling. These certificates are also known as a bankruptcy certificate, and you need one when you file for bankruptcy and another after you’ve filed for bankruptcy, but before your debts are discharged.

Pre-Bankruptcy Counseling

If you think you should file for bankruptcy, you must undergo pre-bankruptcy credit counseling. To move forward with bankruptcy, consumers are required to complete a credit counseling course with an organization that is approved by the Department of Justice’s US Trustee Program. They will help you review your financial situation, create a budget, and offer financial education to help you avoid financial trouble in the future. The course should take no longer than 60-90 minutes, and generally cost $50 or less. In special cases, the fee can be waived. Once you’ve completed the course, and if after the counseling session bankruptcy is still your best option, you will receive a certificate to start the filing process.

Its important consumers are aware and fully understand their financial options before making any decisions. That’s why bankruptcy counseling is such a critical step in the process of bankruptcy filings. These counseling sessions can help you establish whether you need to file bankruptcy, what type of bankruptcy to file, and educate you on next steps. Credit counseling for bankruptcy is a great tool to help consumers navigate the process as smoothly as possible.

Post-Bankruptcy Counseling

The next step is to complete a post-bankruptcy debtor education course. This course must be at least two hours long and must be administered by an approved agency. Just like pre-bankruptcy counseling, you can complete post-bankruptcy counseling on the phone or in person. In this course, you will cover topics like budgeting, using credit responsibly, money management, and additional financial resources at your disposal.

You must file your post-bankruptcy debtor education certificate:

  • Within 45 days after the creditors meeting for Chapter 7 cases
  • No later than the date of your last payment in the repayment plan or the date of the filing for the Motion for a Discharge for Chapter 13 cases.

The cost of these post-bankruptcy debtor education courses ranges from $50 to $100. As with the pre-bankruptcy sessions, waivers for the post-bankruptcy sessions are available if you cannot afford to pay the fee.

Credit Counseling for Bankruptcy with ACCC

If you need a credit counseling certificate, American Consumer Credit Counseling can help. ACCC is a non-profit that offers a number of financial services to help consumers eliminate debt and regain control of their financial lives.

For assistance, call our certified credit counselors today at 800-769-3571.

ABOUT AUTHOR / Madison

Madison is a Marketing Communications & Programs Associate at ACCC. She is excited to share her tips on saving money and being financially responsible here on the Talking Cents blog!

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