What to know about bankruptcy certificates

On Behalf of | Sep 12, 2022 | Bankruptcy

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy may allow you to eliminate unsecured debts in a matter of weeks or months. It’s also possible that you will be able to retain property such as a car or the equity in your Connecticut home. However, before you can file for bankruptcy, you must complete a credit counseling course, and before you can have your case discharged, you must complete a debtor education course.

The purposes of these courses

The purpose of a credit counseling course is to provide you with a better understanding of your debt relief options. This will help you determine if bankruptcy best meets your needs or if another strategy may help you pay your bills in a less drastic fashion. A debtor education course will teach you how to budget, use credit cards and go over other concepts that will reduce your chances of filing for bankruptcy again in the future.

You must take courses from approved providers

The judge in your case will only accept certificates provided by organizations approved by the U.S. Trustee Program. You can ask for a list of approved providers prior to beginning the process of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You should expect to spend about 60 minutes and $50 on credit counseling and about two hours and up to $100 on a debtor education course.

Certificates may expire

A credit counseling certificate is good for up to 180 days after you obtain it. If you fail to file for bankruptcy before it expires, you may need to retake the course. In some cases, the entity that provides your debtor education course will submit your certificate directly to the court. If your service provider doesn’t do this, you are encouraged to do so yourself as quickly as possible.

Filing for bankruptcy may allow you to obtain an automatic stay, which would put a temporary end to creditor phone calls and letters. It may also put an end to lawsuits and other collection activities for the duration of your case.