When going through the bankruptcy process, there are a few things that you must do; two of which are going through credit counseling and attending a debtor education course. The former must be completed before you file for bankruptcy and the latter must be completed after you have filed for bankruptcy. These two things are by no means optional, they are requirements by the government and you also must make sure you are going to the proper provider. This simply means that the provider who is putting on the credit counseling and debtor education course must be one that is approved within the judicial district you are filing bankruptcy in, as well as one that is approved by the U.S. Trustee Program. You can find a list of approved providers at your local bankruptcy clerk’s office.
As was mentioned above, you must go through credit counseling before you file for bankruptcy and must provide proof that you took the session. The session itself can vary based off of who you decide to do the program through, but most sessions have 3 basic components. The first will be going over your financial condition, then discussing any other options you may have other than bankruptcy, and finally creating a plan to manage your finances. Sessions usually run anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes and cost around $50 (unless you cannot afford to pay and fill out a fee waiver to waive the cost). After finishing your credit counseling session, the provider will present a certificate to you which can be used to provide proof of session completion.
Once you have filed for bankruptcy (and before your debt is discharged), you must then complete a debtor education course. Much like the credit counseling session, each course may vary by provider; they will, however, go over a couple key informational pieces that will be very useful for you after your debts have been discharged. Your course instructor should go over helpful ways to budget and manage your money, as well as how to properly use credit without abusing it. These courses will roughly run about two hours, depending on the provider, and can cost anywhere around $50-$100. There is a fee waiver you can fill out, too, if you are unable to pay for the cost of the course. After you have finished the course, you will be granted a certificate that will provide proof of completing the course.
Just remember, although these requirements may seem bothersome, they are only beneficial for you and your future. They will provide you will helpful tips that you can utilize well after completing bankruptcy.