Pre-Bankruptcy Counseling

Pre-Bankruptcy Counseling is Required

Prior to the filing of any type of bankruptcy case by an individual, the bankruptcy client must complete a specially designed pre-bankruptcy counseling course (sometimes referred to as "credit counseling" and submit the certificate of completion for the course to the client's bankruptcy lawyer. The pre-bankruptcy counseling is required prior to the case filing even when the client has an emergency such as an immediate need to stop foreclosure of the client's real property.

Pre-Bankruptcy Counseling Options

The bankruptcy client has the option of completing the pre-bankruptcy counseling course with any counseling agency approved by the United States Trustee's Office for the district in which the client will be filing the case. In-person counseling is available in some locales. Most bankruptcy clients, however, opt to complete the pre-bankruptcy counseling over the telephone or over the internet.

The bankruptcy client should give the counseling agency the fax number or e-mail address for the client's bankruptcy attorney and request the counseling agency send the certificate of completion to the bankruptcy lawyer.

The Counseling Must Be Recent

The pre-bankruptcy counseling must be completed within 180 days prior to the filing of Debtor's case. If a client completes the counseling course and waits 181 days or more to file the case, the counseling must be repeated before the bankruptcy attorney may file the client's case.

Fees for the Pre-Bankruptcy Counseling

The counseling agencies typically charges $25.00-$50.00 for the pre-bankruptcy counseling depending on the agency and sometimes depending on whether the counseling is completed via the internet or telephone. For clients who have very limited income, a fee waiver may be obtained from the counseling agency.