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What is Debtor’s Education?

One of the most important aspects of bankruptcy is the way in which it allows you to get back on track and create a brighter financial future. Bankruptcy is not a “get out of debt free” card - it’s an opportunity to start fresh and make better choices going forward. Part of this includes being better educated and the bankruptcy court makes sure everyone who files receives this education. Before filing for bankruptcy, you are required to participate in a credit counseling course that helps you determine if bankruptcy is really your best option. And once you have filed you must take a debtor’s education course.

Chapter 7 vs Chapter 13 Debtor’s Education

Debtor’s education varies based on whether you file for chapter 7 or chapter 13. When you take the class and what’s included is different because your bankruptcy situation is different – you’re either repaying what you owe in a payment plan or being released from debt. The course covers how to manage your current financial situation and how to deal with the changes bankruptcy brings, as well as how to better manage your finances in the future.

Not everyone files for bankruptcy because they made irresponsible choices – sometimes there was no choice because high medical expenses drove you into debt, even with insurance coverage – but everyone does have the same opportunity to make a fresh start. Debtor’s education helps you make the most of the opportunity bankruptcy provides and gives you the tools you need to avoid further financial struggles.

Debtor’s Education is an Opportunity

Debtor’s education is a requirement of being released from your bankruptcy, but it should not be seen as a punishment. Chapter 7 filers must complete the course before their debt is discharged and chapter 13 filers before they are released from their repayment plan. Nobody should feel as if they are being forced into the course or reprimanded for where they are financially. Instead, view the course as a chance to learn more about your situation and how to improve it.

Most debtor’s education courses are about two hours long. You will need to pay for the course, so make sure you research the costs offered at various locations and determine what suits your budget best. Also make sure you choose an accredited course that will count toward the court’s requirement to participate in debtor’s education.

For a list of approved debtor education providers by state and judicial district, visit the website for the US Department of Justice.

If you have additional questions about debtor’s education and how it plays a role in filing for bankruptcy or you need assistance locating an accredited debtor’s education course, we can help. Contact the Bankruptcy Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at (813) 254-5696 for more information.

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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, 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.