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Filing Bankruptcy? Don’t Forget Your Credit Counseling!


You probably heard that the bankruptcy laws were changed in 2005. The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA) was passed and a variety of revisions were made to the bankruptcy process. One of the new requirements for debtors filing a personal Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case was that the debtor must attend and complete an approved credit counseling course.

Fortunately, the law allows you to attend the course in person or online, as long as the class has been approved by the bankruptcy court. You must attend two different classes – one before your bankruptcy case has been filed and another course before your discharge order can be entered by the court.

The first class must be completed within 180 days prior to your bankruptcy petition being filed with the court. This course is generally an overview of your financial situation and a discussion regarding all of the debt relief options available to you. The class assists you with creating a budget as well. Once this course has been finished, you will be provided a certificate of completion that must be filed with the bankruptcy court. This is usually done at the same time your bankruptcy petition is filed.

Prior to the court entering your discharge order, you are required to attend and complete a course that discusses how to manage your debt and provides you with a variety of budgeting tips. The goal of this class is to help you make the most of your fresh financial start you are receiving by your discharge of debt. You must also file your certification of completion of this course with the bankruptcy court. The court will not give you a discharge of debt until your certificate of completion has been filed. In fact, if you fail to complete this course within the prescribed period of time, the court may dismiss your bankruptcy case.

If you are interested in locating court-approved credit counseling courses, visit the United States Trustee’s website at or contact Fitzgerald & Campbell for help.

If you are considering filing a bankruptcy and you need help determining which type of filing would be best for you, contact Fitzgerald & Campbell to schedule an appointment. We do not offer just one debt relief option, we don’t push you in one direction. If bankruptcy right for you, we will tell you. If it’s not, we will tell you that. If bankruptcy is your get out of debt plan, it needs to be done right. It needs to be in the hands of experienced lawyers who have been there before. Contact us today!

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