One of the requirements that was instituted in bankruptcy cases in 2005 was the need for debtors to take two separate “classes” as part of their bankruptcy case. These classes can be completed through private companies specifically designed for the purpose of offering them. They typically cost between $25 to $40 to complete. The first class is called the “credit counseling class”, and it is supposed to be completed before the bankruptcy case is filed.
It can be done over the phone, or on the internet, and it typically takes about 45 to 60 minutes to complete. Once it is finished, the debtor and the attorney are provided with a completion certificate. This certificate is filed with the court when the case is filed. Basically, the debtor is asked a series of questions about his or her income and expenses.
The second class is called the “financial management course” or the “debtor education” course. It should be done after the bankruptcy case is filed. The subject matter of the second course covers budgeting, finance, and related topics. Neither of these “classes” is challenging to finish. For most people, they are simple formalities that need to be completed as part of getting a bankruptcy discharge. In fact, experience shows that for most people, the biggest challenge is the classes is not forgetting to do them. This is especially true of the second class, the financial management course. There are specific deadlines within which the second class has to be finished, unless you get court permission for an extension. Unless the class is finished within this deadline, your receipt of the bankruptcy discharge can be delayed.
It is important to remember that the companies that offer these classes are not part of the court system. The answers you provide and the information you provide is not part of your bankruptcy court documents. These companies are not there to investigate you or share your information with creditors. If you have any questions about the credit counseling class or financial management course, contact us. We can provide you with recommendations on where to go to complete the classes.