Credit counseling to get a bankruptcy certificate

On Behalf of | Dec 17, 2021 | Bankruptcy |

Bankruptcy is a legal means that helps consumers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, get out of certain debts. Many people choose Chapter 7, a liquidation process, or Chapter 13, which is a repayment plan. Either way, consumers must file the initial paperwork to start the case.

Credit counseling and debtor education

The Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 made pre- and post-bankruptcy counseling mandatory. The filer can only take courses from agencies approved by the U.S. Trustee Program, except in Alabama and North Carolina. These states do not have a trustee program, so the filer needs an agency approved by the bankruptcy administrators.

The reason for the counseling and debtor education programs is to determine if the filer really needs to file. The first part of the requirement is the credit counseling program, and the debtor education occurs after the discharge. If the filer’s income is under 150% of the poverty line, they may ask the organization to get the fees waived.

How the programs work

The counselor should discuss bankruptcy alternatives and the pros and cons with the consumer during the credit counseling program. The filer may take the course online, by phone or in person, and the course is commonly 60 to 90 minutes. The counselor should discuss what led the consumer to file and review options for paying the debt without filing bankruptcy.

The debtor education is a different course before the discharge that reviews strategies to help the filer stay afloat financially, such as managing credit. This course commonly takes two hours, and the filer gets a certificate of completion to get their discharge from the court.

There are some exceptions to the financial courses, such as having a disability or military service. They must complete both programs in the allotted time as required by law and receive a certificate to avoid dismissal of the case.