The current bankruptcy law requires debtors to complete a credit counseling course within 180 days prior to filing for bankruptcy. There are many agencies that provide this service. We refer our clients to Abacus Credit Counseling. They have reasonable rates, but more importantly they have proven to be reliable.
If you are certain that you are retaining our office to represent you in your bankrutpcy, you can enter Attorney Code ACC73813 and our office will automatically recieve a copy of your certificate of completion once you are finished.
The credit counseling session can feel like somewhat of an arduos task, as consumers must spend at least one hour on the session by law. Other than that, it is just a review of your current financial health, debts and then a brief meeting with a credit counselor.
It is important to remember that you MUST make contact with a credit counselor either by telephone or email before your session will be considered complete.
You absolutely cannot file for bankruptcy unless the course is completed and the certificate is issued prior to filing. The certificate of completion is filed with the petition and the rest of your pleadings. If the filed certificate is dated after the case was filed, your case will be dismissed. The Credit Counseling Certificate of Completion and all bankruptcy pleadings are date and time stamped. Sometimes it can take a credit counseling agency 24 to 48 hours to process a certificate. However, Abacus Credit Counseling does a great job of issuing them within an hour or two of completion.
That is why it is wise to complete it as soon as your attorney gives you the information on where they recommend you complete it. However, keep in mind that it does expire after six months so if you are not prepared to file within the next three to five months, you should just wait until you get closer to filing.
The session will ask you to input information regarding your income, assets, expenses and debts. You should have recent paystubs, monthly expenses and a general summary of your debt such as a recent credit report available, if possible.
Once your information is imputed, it is completely normal for the calculation to show negative monthly income. After all, this is typically why people find themselves in need of bankruptcy relief.