Many clients ask me: Why do I have to take a credit counseling class? The simple answer is: the Bankruptcy Code requires it.
You may have paid your lawyer all of the fees required, you may have provided your lawyer with all the information necessary for a petition to be properly prepared, your petition may have been prepared, you may have signed it….but if you have not taken the pre-filing credit counseling session and provided a certificate of completion to your attorney, your petition cannot be filed. Note that the bankruptcy petition cannot be filed the same day as the date of the certificate; the filing of the petition must be at least one day later than the date of the certificate
Many clients are fearful of the credit counseling: What will they ask? I don’t know what to say? What if I don’t pass? How much does it cost?
The credit counseling itself is extremely simple; you cannot fail. You will be asked about income and living expenses; estimated answers are fine. The counseling can be done on the Internet, by telephone or in person. Make certain that you use an approved agency. There is a HUGE list of approved agencies at the following link:
The credit counseling is not expensive at all. There are some that are extremely inexpensive. Your attorney can provide with the “cheap” ones; our office does.
Keep in mind that in order to receive your Court-Ordered Discharge, which finalizes your bankruptcy, there is a second class that you must take called a Financial Management Class. Again, this can be done on the Internet, by telephone or in person. If you are filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in the Northern District of Illinois, our Chapter 13 Trustees offer the counseling free of charge AND…my clients told me that they actual learning something about budgeting and managing money.