For a bankruptcy petition to proceed, filers must meet two educational requirements. The first is an approved credit counseling course, which needs to be completed before an individual can file for bankruptcy. The second is a debtor education course, which can only be completed after filing for bankruptcy. Consult your bankruptcy attorney to make sure you correctly fulfill all of the legal requirements to obtain your debt discharge.
Is there a deadline to complete the course?
If you’re filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must complete the debtor education course after filing, but before the motion for entry of discharge is filed. In other words, the course must be completed before you finish your repayment plan. If you’ve filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must complete the course within 60 days after the meeting of creditors.
How can I find a course?
You can ask your bankruptcy lawyer for guidance or you can visit the website of the United States Trustee Program (USTP) for the list of approved course providers. The list includes providers that offer the course in languages other than English.
For a joint bankruptcy petition, do both filers need to take the course?
Yes, but joint filers can attend the same debt education session. Education providers are required to issue each filer his or her own certificate of completion.
What should I do with the certificate?
You must file the certificate of completion with the bankruptcy court. In some cases, the education provider will electronically file the petition with the court, although providers are not legally required to do so.
What should I expect from the course?
Debtor education courses typically cover topics such as personal finance management, including creating and sticking to a budget. You may also learn about the smart use of credit and how to deal with unexpected bills.
How long is the course?
The course is at least two hours long. Depending on the provider you choose, you may attend the class in person, online, or over the phone.
If you have any other questions about the bankruptcy process, please don’t hesitate to call Cutler & Associates, Ltd. We are a team of experienced bankruptcy lawyers serving the Chicagoland area.