Practically every day when I mention to a new client for the first time that they need to complete a bankruptcy credit counseling course before they can file their case, I get a momentary look of discontentment. It's as though they have a flashback to the days when they had to go to school. I then explain that the credit counseling course is not exactly a class. It is simply an online course that takes an hour or less to complete. You can have your certificate of completion of the bankruptcy counseling course emailed directly to your lawyer and then you’re done.
What is a Bankruptcy Credit Counseling Course?
While the online credit counseling class is a cinch, it should not be taken lightly. It is an absolute requirement to complete the online bankruptcy credit counseling course before you file bankruptcy, unless you are exempted from the requirement of taking the course. Because the exceptions are so rare, in almost all cases taking and completing the online course will be an absolute requirement before you can file your case. The three main exemptions are: (1) you are in the military in an active combat zone, (2) you have a mental illness or disability that makes you incapable of making rational decisions with respect to financial responsibilities, or (3) you are so physically impaired that you cannot participate in a credit counseling course, whether on the internet or by phone or in person.
So when you are meeting with your lawyer and hear the words “credit counseling course,” don't be alarmed. Know that you will not have to attend classes anywhere. There won't be any teachers, homework, quizzes, or exams. All you have to do is go on the internet for about an hour, read some material, and then you're done. There is no exam. You just flip through the pages, read the material, and then the course provider will email you a certificate of completion.
You must complete bankruptcy credit counseling within 180 days of the day that your case is going to be filed. So it's best to complete your course at the first chance that you have in order to avoid a delay with the filing of your case. Just sit behind a computer, log into an online course, read through the informative material, and have your certificate emailed to you. Many of my clients have actually found that the material they read on the online course to be information and valuable and say that they would have been willing to take the online course even if it wasn’t necessary for filing bankruptcy. Hopefully, you will find the experience a positive one too.