Prior to filing for bankruptcy in a Florida court, you’ll need proof that you’ve completed a credit counseling course, and prior to obtaining a discharge in your case, you’ll need to show that you have completed a debtor education course. The court will need to see these certificates after you have successfully completed each of these steps.
Use an approved service provider
You must attend credit counseling and debtor education courses provided by entities approved by the U.S. Trustee Program. In most cases, you pay a fee of $50 for the credit counseling session and another fee of up to $100 to complete the debtor education course. If you cannot afford to pay these fees, the judge in your case may agree to waive them. It may also be possible to pay what you owe over a period of several months. Approved course providers are required to disclose their fee schedule before any services are rendered.
What to expect from each course
A credit counseling session will take somewhere between 60 to 90 minutes. It will largely consist of a professional reviewing your finances and talking about alternate options that you might have to get out of debt. The certificate that you receive from a credit counselor will remain valid for 180 days.
A debtor education course takes about two hours and will help you better understand basic concepts such as how to create a budget or use credit wisely. Ultimately, you are supposed to learn strategies that can help you avoid filing for bankruptcy again. The course can usually be taken in person, over the phone or online.
Filing for bankruptcy may allow you to eliminate unsecured debts without giving up property. Taking this step may also allow you to reorganize unsecured debts without losing your home or car. An automatic stay will likely prevent creditors from taking steps such as foreclosing on a home or calling you about a past due credit card debt. The court where your petition is filed may answer any questions that you have about the bankruptcy process.