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Mandatory Credit Counseling and Debtors’ Education

The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 governs all bankruptcies. When this law was passed, it required that every person who filed for bankruptcy had to receive mandatory credit counseling at least 180 days before they can officially file. The credit counseling has to be conducted by an organization approved by the government. In addition to the credit counseling, those who file for bankruptcy also have to complete a debtors’ education course before the government will discharge their debts.

The U.S. Trustee program is the government agency that approves the organizations that provide the mandatory credit counseling and provide the debtors’ education program. If the organization appears on the U.S. Trustee program’s list of approved credit counselors and educators, then they can advertise that they are government-approved organizations. If they do not appear on that list, they cannot advertise that they obviously cannot make such a claim.

Each of these programs follows a specific timeline. The credit counseling has to take place before the debtor files for bankruptcy and the debtors’ education has to take place after the debtor has filed his or her case. When a debtor files for bankruptcy, he or she has to include in the massive amount of paperwork a certificate of completion for the credit-counseling course. The debtor must also submit evidence that he or she has completed the debtors’ education program before the debts can be officially discharged in bankruptcy.

The credit counseling session should include an evaluation of the debtor’s complete financial life. The credit counselor should provide the debtor with some alternatives to bankruptcy and also give the debtor an opportunity to learn how to develop a better personal budgeting system. The cost of the class is generally between $35.00 – $50.00.

Once the debtor has completed the required credit-counseling course and has received a certificate of completion, he or she can then submit that certificate of completion within 7 days of filing the bankruptcy petition.  Once you file bankruptcy the next step is to complete the debtors’ education course. This course should include instructions for the debtor on how to develop a budget, how to use credit wisely, and how to manage money effectively.

It is always advisable if you are considering filing for bankruptcy that you consult an attorney. The Phoenix bankruptcy attorneys at Ariano & Reppucci, PLLC will be happy to assist you with filing a bankruptcy claim. Call today at (602) 515-0841.

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