Bankruptcy Credit Counseling call (888) 505-2369 for a free bankruptcy consultation before you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy you must ask the attorney about an approved credit counseling course. The purpose of this consultation is to see whether there is a feasible way to handle your debt load outside of bankruptcy, without adding to what you owe. To qualify for bankruptcy relief, you must show that you received credit counseling from an agency approved by the U.S Trustee’s office within the 180-day period before you file your bankruptcy. Once you complete the counseling, the agency will give you a certificate of completion that you must file no later than 15 days after your bankruptcy filing date. It will also give you a copy of any repayment plan you may have worked out with the agency.
Finding a Bankruptcy Attorney
You can find out which agencies have been approved for your judicial district by calling the attorney and ask for the list of “Credit Counseling & Debtor Education” to see the list.
The Purpose of Pre-bankruptcy Credit Counseling
The stated purpose of credit counseling is to give you an idea of whether you really need to file for bankruptcy or whether an informal repayment plan would get you back on your economic feet. Counseling is required even if it’s pretty obvious that a repayment plan isn’t feasible (that is, your debts are too high and your income is too low) or you are facing debts that you find unfair and don’t want to pay. (Credit card balances inflated by high interest rates and penalties are particularly unpopular with many filers, as are emergency room bills and deficiency judgments based on auctions of repossessed cars.) The counseling agency usually prepares a budget based on your income and expenses, and then review your options for repaying the debt. In most cases, the agency confirms that you don’t have any feasible options, other than bankruptcy, for dealing with the debt. Bankruptcy law requires only that you participate in the counseling—not that you go along with whatever the agency proposes. Even if a repayment plan is feasible, you aren’t required to agree to it. However, if the agency does come up with a plan, you must file it along with the your other bankruptcy documents.