When Congress passed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act in 2005, it required all filers eligible for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 to complete two financial education classes. In Massachusetts, you must complete the pre-bankruptcy credit education course within 180 days of filing your petition. You are required to take this course from a credit counseling agency approved by a United States trustee in Massachusetts. Before you are eligible for bankruptcy discharge, you must also complete a debtor education course.
Once you have completed your requirements, the credit counseling agency provides you with a certificate of completion. Your bankruptcy lawyer includes these in your petition in order to meet legal requirements. Depending on the agency you choose, you can complete the course in person, by phone, or online.
What to Expect in Pre-Bankruptcy Counseling
The purpose of this requirement is to determine if bankruptcy is your best option or if there is another way for you to manage your debt. In the majority of cases, the credit counselor agrees that filing bankruptcy is truly the only choice you have. The counselor also helps you prepare a budget based on your current income and expenses as well as those you expect to have after bankruptcy discharge. You are only required to attend the session, not agree with everything the credit counselor proposes.
The Pre-Discharge Counseling Requirement
Your final educational requirement must last a minimum of two hours and cover curriculum required by state law. This typically includes post-bankruptcy budgeting and credit management.
Have More Questions? We Can Help
The decision to file for bankruptcy is overwhelming enough without having to keep track of all of the requirements. If you're thinking about this solution for your overwhelming debt, we encourage you to contact us at Kovacs Law Office to schedule your initial consultation.