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Five Tips to Help You with Bankruptcy Credit Counseling

EducationBankruptcy Post Filing Education and Counseling Requirements

If you’ve begun the bankruptcy process you already know about the education requirements.

In nearly every case, a person filing for bankruptcy is required to participate in credit counseling. Proof of participation is needed for the bankruptcy court to discharge your debts and if you fail to honor this obligation your case can be dismissed.

Many people find the education requirement to be one of the most intimidating aspects of bankruptcy and it’s understandable why this is the case. If you’ve filed for bankruptcy you might feel like a financial novice and the idea of being tested or required to attend a class about these things can be scary.

The good news is credit counseling is much less frightening than it seems.

For starters, you don’t need to actually attend a class. You can participate online or over the phone, right from the comfort of your own home. And there are no presentations or exams or group projects. You simply participate and show that you’ve participated.

So if you weren’t the studious type or the idea of sitting through a class lecture on the evils of the credit card industry makes you break into a cold sweat, rest easy. Credit counseling is helpful, supportive, and much easier than most people imagine.

What else should you know about credit counseling?

  1. Credit counseling is mandatory for everyone filing for bankruptcy, so don’t feel as if you’ll be stuck in a situation with nothing but people who overspent on their credit cards. People filing for personal and business bankruptcy both must attend. Attendance in credit counseling is nothing to be ashamed of, it’s just a requirement of filing.
  2. You must participate in an approved credit counseling course. It must be offered by a non-profit budget and credit counseling agency that has officially been evaluated and approved by the United States Treasury. For more information on approved courses, check out this information.
  3. Credit counseling can be done in person, but most people opt for an online course. The course can also be attended over the phone in some cases. And it’s offered in a variety of languages, so don’t worry if your first language isn’t English.
  4. Credit counseling is mandatory for people filing for bankruptcy, but there are a few exceptions. If you or a loved one is filing for bankruptcy because of an advanced mental health disease, physical disability, or another serious health issue, the requirement can be waived. Military members filing while on active duty in a combat zone can also have the requirement waived.
  5. In most cases, you’ll need to participate in credit counseling prior to filing your bankruptcy petition and proof of attendance will need to be submitted with the petition. However, there are instances in which the court will approve post-petition attendance, as long as it’s completed within 30 days. It’s important to speak to a bankruptcy attorney to determine if you’d be eligible for post-petition counseling because if you don’t meet the requirements postponing attendance could result in the dismissal of your case.

Questions about bankruptcy and credit counseling

If you have questions about bankruptcy counseling or you’re ready to get started filing, we can help. Contact the Law Office of Robert M. Geller at 813.254.5696 to learn more or to schedule a consultation.

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At the Tampa Bay law firm, the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller, P.A., we help people with consumer bankruptcy matters in the Tampa Bay-St. Petersburg,  Florida communities such as Clearwater,     St. Petersburg, Tampa, Thonotosassa, Riverview, Lutz, Plant City, Brandon, Carrollwood, Wesley Chapel, St. Petersburg Beach, Lakeland, Mulberry, Dade City, Pinellas Park, Largo, Seminole, Odessa, Oldsmar and Lithia, and counties such as Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Polk County and Manatee County.