Credit counseling is required for filing bankruptcy under Chapter 7, Chapter 13, or Chapter 11. Individuals must complete the short course within 180 days before filing the bankruptcy petition as part of the requirements for filing bankruptcy relief. The course is not something that most law firms offer in-house. However, your South Atlanta bankruptcy lawyer can provide a list of companies approved by the United States Trustee that offer the credit counseling course for those considering bankruptcy.
Required Bankruptcy Courses
When Congress passed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA), it included a requirement that debtors complete two bankruptcy courses to receive a bankruptcy discharge. A bankruptcy discharge is the goal of filing a bankruptcy case. The bankruptcy discharge relieves you of any legal responsibility to pay a discharged debt. If you do not receive a bankruptcy discharge, your creditors can resume all legal collection efforts as if you never filed a bankruptcy case.
First, before filing your bankruptcy petition, you must complete a credit counseling course. The certificate for the credit counseling course is filed with your bankruptcy petition. In addition, after your bankruptcy case is filed, you must complete a debtor education course.
The certificate for the debtor education course is filed at any time after the bankruptcy case is filed but before the end of the case. The second bankruptcy case cannot be completed until after your bankruptcy case has been filed.
Where Do I Go to Take the Credit Counseling Course Required by the Bankruptcy Court?
Most companies offer the credit counseling course online. Therefore, you can complete the course online at home, a public library, or anywhere you have access to a computer and the internet. If you are unable to access a class online, some companies offer the credit counseling course by telephone or in person, although some companies charge slightly more for telephone and in-person classes than they charge for online classes.
Many companies offer the online course for a fee of $15. If you meet certain income requirements, you may qualify to waive this fee.
What is Involved in Taking the Credit Counseling Course?
If you complete the credit counseling course online, you can do so in about 90 minutes to two hours. The course requires you to disclose your income, expenses, and debts. In most cases, if your Georgia bankruptcy attorney has advised you to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, the credit counseling course will agree with your attorney’s assessment.
However, even if the credit counseling course proposes a repayment plan, this does not mean that you must do what the agency proposes or that you cannot file for bankruptcy relief. The law simply requires you to complete the course and file proof of completion with the court. If the credit counseling company recommends a plan, you also must file that with your bankruptcy documents.
Contact a South Atlanta Bankruptcy Attorney for More Information
Most individuals do not have any trouble completing the credit counseling course. The agency provides simple instructions that are clear and easy to understand.
Schedule a consult with a skilled South Atlanta bankruptcy attorney today. If you have concerns about completing the pre-bankruptcy filing course, our Georgia bankruptcy attorneys can usually ease your mind by providing further information about the court to you during a free consultation.
Posted in: Bankruptcy