Credit Counseling and Debtor Education 101

A bankruptcy attorney in Baltimore, MD, or in any other city for that matter can tell you that there are no two bankruptcy cases that are exactly the same. How so? It is because every case has a unique set of circumstances surrounding it, like a person’s debts, assets, marital status, and real estate property. However, there is one factor that is common in all individual bankruptcy filers.  Whether they are filing for a Chapter 13 or a Chapter 7, they are required to get credit counseling and debtor education courses as mandated by the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. Each of these two non-elective sessions approaches bankruptcy issues from different angles with the main goal of putting a halt to needless bankruptcy filings.

Pre-Bankruptcy Credit Counseling

By weighing your income against your debt, a credit counseling agency will confirm if bankruptcy is the only way for you to recover from your economic downfall. They will give you an idea of whether filing for bankruptcy is necessary or a repayment plan is a viable option in solving your debt issue. However, bankruptcy law does not require you to go along with a credit counseling agency’s decision. This means that even if they present you with a feasible debt repayment plan, you don’t have to agree with it. You, however, still need to file the plan they presented you along with your other bankruptcy documents.

Having a seasoned Baltimore bankruptcy lawyer on your side is very helpful in this situation. You can ask your lawyer for a list of credit counseling organizations approved by the U.S. Trustee Program. He will also inform you that you should get credit counseling 180 days before you file for bankruptcy. Now, if you choose to forgo a counseling agency’s debt repayment proposal, your lawyer will help explain what this could mean for your bankruptcy case especially if you are filing for a Chapter 7. Moreover, he will let you know what necessary steps you should take in this regard.

Pre-Discharge Debtor Education

The next course you need to take after filing for bankruptcy is the debtor education course. This is required before you receive a bankruptcy discharge. If you fail to complete this, the bankruptcy court can close your case without giving you a discharge. This means that your creditors will have the right to continue collecting payment for your debt, report non-payment, and even file a lawsuit for unpaid debts.

As with credit counseling, you should take a debtor education course from agencies approved by the Office of the U.S. Trustee. The providers of this course will educate you on financial management, different forms of debt, and financial strategies so that you can avoid a repeat of filing for bankruptcy in the future. If you are not sure where you can get this course, your bankruptcy attorney can suggest accredited agencies in your state.

The office of Richard Hackerman, a bankruptcy lawyer in Baltimore, Maryland, can help you with all the requirements you need if you are planning to file for a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Call us today at 410-243-8800 or 888-243-5500 to schedule an appointment so that we can assist you with your debt solution needs.

Font Resize