What is mandatory credit counseling in bankruptcy?
There are two classes that anyone who wants to file bankruptcy must complete. One is taken before the bankruptcy case is filed, which is often referred to as the Credit Counseling Certificate. The second class must be taken after the case is filed but before certain deadlines. The second class is often referred to as Debtor Education or Personal Financial Management.
Both of these certificates must be obtained and completed in a timely manner when you file for bankruptcy in Virginia. A qualified bankruptcy lawyer can help you with completing these requirements.
Credit Counseling Certificate for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
The deadline to complete the Credit Counseling Certificate for both Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy cases is 180 days (6 months) before the case is filed. Note that the certificate is only valid for 6 months before it expires and you must retake the class. Remember, it is important to complete the class prior to filing your case. If you fail to do so, the bankruptcy court will dismiss your case.
Debtor Education or Personal Financial Management Certificate
The second class, often referred to as Debtor Education, must be completed after your case is filed because you will need your bankruptcy case number to complete the class. The deadlines are different, depending on whether you filed a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case.
For Chapter 13 cases, the course must be completed prior to your last payment under your Chapter 13 plan, or filing of a motion for discharge under the Bankruptcy Code. Do not wait until then to take this class. If you forget to take the class or something happens to prevent you from completing the course, your discharge will be denied, even though you have made all of your Chapter 13 plan payments.
For Chapter 7 cases, the course must be completed within 60 days of the initial meeting of creditors under the Bankruptcy Code. Please be aware that if your meeting is rescheduled, the 60 days begins from the initial date, not the rescheduled date.
How do I take these bankruptcy credit counseling classes?
The classes can be taken on the phone, online, or in a classroom offered by an approved agency. Your bankruptcy lawyer can recommend an agency for you; or, you can choose one from the You will need to select your state, and a list of approved agencies will appear for you. If English is not your first language, some agencies offer different languages for your convenience. US Trustees website.
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy in Richmond, Virginia or surrounding areas, you should seek the help of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Contact the Stuart Law Firm for your free bankruptcy consultation.