When you file for bankruptcy, you'll complete two courses: a "credit counseling course" and a "debtor education" or "financial management" course. If you're unsure about which course you should take or how to find approved providers, these basics will help:
And congratulations—filing the financial management course certificate is often the last step you'll take before your bankruptcy case is over.
The debtor education course is the second course. You must complete it before receiving your debt discharge (the order that erases qualifying debt) unless you're exempt from taking the debtor education course.
The practical financial management strategies taught in the class will help you avoid another bankruptcy filing. The first course—the credit counseling course taken before filing for bankruptcy—evaluates whether options other than bankruptcy are available to you.
The Chapter 7 deadline to file the second course certificate is 60 days after the 341 meeting of creditors. In Chapter 13, the deadline to file the financial management course certificate is simply before the filer makes the last Chapter 13 repayment plan payment.
Keep in mind that missing the certificate filing deadline is expensive. If the court closes your bankruptcy, you won't be able to file the certificate without repaying the filing fee to reopen your case.
If your household income is below 150% of the poverty line, you'll be eligible for a fee waiver. Otherwise, $50 or less is reasonable.
Check with the provider you used for your credit counseling course. Otherwise, follow these step-by-step instructions for finding an approved debtor education course:
Practical Tip. The provider will ask for your bankruptcy case number. If you don't need it when you sign up, you're probably taking the first course—the credit counseling course.
You filed the first credit counseling certificate with your bankruptcy paperwork. You must file the second debtor education certificate with the court, too. If your provider isn't going to file it for you, download the coversheet form (link below), complete it, and file it with the certificate.
Bankruptcy is essentially a qualification process. The laws provide instructions for completing a 50- to 60-page bankruptcy petition, and because the rules apply to every case, you can't skip a step. We want to help.
Below is the bankruptcy form for this topic and other resources we think you'll enjoy. For more easy-to-understand articles, go to TheBankruptcySite.
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Bankruptcy Forms and Document Checklist
Voluntary Petition (see Part 5)
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We wholeheartedly encourage research and learning, but online articles can't address all bankruptcy issues or the facts of your case. The best way to protect your assets in bankruptcy is by hiring a local bankruptcy lawyer.