Each person who files for consumer bankruptcy protection, either chapter 7 or chapter 13, is required to complete a pre-petition credit counseling course. Most bankruptcy attorneys should be willing to, and most likely have a protocol in place, to assist you in obtaining this counseling prior to filing your bankruptcy case. This is a fairly new requirement. In 2005, Congress passed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA). This act was an amendment of the bankruptcy code. One provision of the new Act, specifically 11U.S.C.521 (b), requires all individuals filing for Bankruptcy protection to obtain credit counseling within 180 days prior to filing their bankruptcy petition.
You must obtain a certificate of completion of credit counseling that will be filed with the bankruptcy court at the time you file your petition for relief. Each bankruptcy court has approved certain credit counseling agencies from whom the courts will accept certifications. It is highly recommended that you seek assistance from your bankruptcy attorney in obtaining your credit counseling certificate to insure that you are receiving certification from an approved agency to avoid wasting your time and money.
Most credit counseling is fairly simple to go through and you should not let this intimidate you from seeking advice on filing for bankruptcy. The general process is to supply your monthly income and living expenses coupled with your current debts. A counselor will review your information and possibly make suggestions on how to budget your living expenses. Once you complete the process, your certificate will be issued. This is usually a quick process.
If you are seeking assistance with your creditors and think that you would like to explore a bankruptcy option, please contact our office nearest to you and set up a free initial consultation to sit down with one of our experienced attorneys who will be happy to explain the process and help you navigate through it.