Bankruptcy Law requires counseling prior to and after filing to help you make the most informed decision. As soon as these courses are complete, you earn a bankruptcy certificate for each one. These documents are mandatory prior to filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and again after the filing but before the debts are discharged.
Earn Bankruptcy Certificate through Credit Counseling
The initial step of obtaining your bankruptcy certificate is to complete a credit counseling course. It is imperative to understand that the organization you choose needs to be approved by the Department of Justice’s U.S. Trustee Program. Whether online or by phone, these courses typically take 60 to 90 minutes to complete. While there is a fee to the course, you may be eligible to file a fee waiver.
Throughout credit counseling, you will provide information regarding your finances, such as your income, expenses, and debt. Since you will need all of this information to file bankruptcy, gather this documentation for the course and have it ready if you decide to continue with the filing.
Your certificate will be sent to you and/or your bankruptcy attorney upon completion and is valid for 180 days. You are required to file the certificate with your bankruptcy petition.
You will need the following:
- Proof of income (pay stubs or other income sources, including disability payments or Social Security)
- Debts (your most recent statements)
- Household expenses (utility bills and receipts)
With this information, the counseling will involve:
- Evaluating your financial situation
- Reviewing your spending habits
- Setting up a personal budget
- Exploring bankruptcy alternatives
Take a Post-Bankruptcy Debtor Education Course
It is also mandatory to take a debtor education course after you file for bankruptcy. Upon its completion, you will receive the second bankruptcy certificate. For chapter 7 bankruptcy, this certificate must be filed prior to the 45th day following the creditors meeting. In a chapter 13 case, the filing must occur no later than the date of your repayment plan’s last payment.
The law states that the course is to be two hours long and should discuss managing your finances, including:
- Setting financial goals
- Creating and sticking to a budget
- Understanding your credit report and how to re-establish your credit
- Using credit sensibly
Contact Khoshnood Law Firm for more information about bankruptcy today.