In this article, you can discover:
- Whether you are required to complete pre-filing credit counseling for Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy filings.
- Tips on finding accredited agencies for pre-filing credit counseling services.
- The key differences between pre-filing credit counseling and post-filing financial education in bankruptcy.
What Is Pre-Filing Credit Counseling? Is It A Requirement Before Filing For Bankruptcy?
Pre-filing credit counseling is a mandatory course for anyone filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This course, which can be taken with any certified or licensed company, involves providing detailed financial information, including budget, income, expenses, debts, and assets. Its primary aim is to assist individuals in developing better budgeting skills after bankruptcy.
Although its practicality for clients may vary, it is a court-imposed prerequisite. Without completing this course, filing for bankruptcy is generally not permitted. However, there are rare exceptions where a case can be filed and the certificate submitted shortly thereafter.
How Can I Find Accredited Agencies To Provide Pre-Filing Credit Counseling Services?
Individuals can find accredited agencies through various means. Many attorneys, including myself, can recommend specific companies known for their efficiency and reasonable pricing. Alternatively, individuals can conduct their own search online, where numerous options are readily available.
Is Pre-Filing Credit Counseling Mandatory For All Bankruptcy Filings, And Are There Exemptions?
Pre-filing credit counseling is indeed mandatory for all bankruptcy filings. While exemptions may exist in unique circumstances, they are exceedingly rare. In my practice, I always inform my clients that this requirement is absolute and unavoidable.
How Long Does A Pre-Filing Credit Counseling Session Usually Last? Can It Be Completed Online Or In Person?
The duration of a pre-filing credit counseling session typically spans about one hour, perhaps slightly longer. These sessions can be conveniently completed online or over the phone, catering to the individual’s preference and situation.
How Soon Before Filing For Bankruptcy Should An Individual Complete The Pre-Filing Credit Counseling Requirements?
The certification received upon completing the counseling is valid for six months. Ideally, it should be completed close to the time of filing for bankruptcy. However, there are cases where the class is taken earlier, and as long as the case is filed within six months of receiving the certificate, it remains valid.
What Happens If Someone Fails To Complete The Pre-Filing Credit Counseling Requirements Before Filing For Bankruptcy?
Failure to complete the pre-filing credit counseling requirement generally prohibits the filing of a bankruptcy case. In my practice, I insist on clients completing the course before filing. While some self-represented filers may proceed without it, they are expected to submit the certificate soon after filing. The court’s leniency varies, but the general rule mandates completion prior to filing.
Can I Choose Any Credit Counseling Agency? Are There Limitations On Which Agency I Can Use?
Individuals are free to choose any credit counseling agency, provided it is licensed in the state where the bankruptcy is being filed. The key criterion is the agency’s authority to issue the necessary certification.
How Does Pre-Filing Credit Counseling Differ From Post-Filing Financial Education Requirements In Bankruptcy Cases?
The primary distinction between pre-filing credit counseling and post-filing financial education lies in their timing and focus. Pre-filing counseling, a prerequisite to filing for bankruptcy, concentrates on evaluating and improving financial management.
The post-filing financial education, required for case closure, is more informational, aimed at assisting those already in bankruptcy. This course is longer, includes a test, and focuses on broader financial literacy, unlike the pre-filing course, which is more oriented towards immediate financial assessment and planning.
For more information on Pre-Filing Credit Counseling In A Bankruptcy Case, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (407) 305-5599 today.