What Is a Credit Counseling Class?

During the initial consultation with my clients, I always advise my clients of the mandatory requirement that they complete a credit counseling class.  The initial reaction that I get from most of my clients is always interesting.    For a split second, before I can even finish explaining the course requirement, I get a momentary look of discontentedness, as though I just told them they needed to go school and take a full semester course.  I always follow up my introduction of the course requirement with something to the effect of, “don’t worry, it’s just a one hour course that you take on the internet.” And you can take the 1 hour class from the comfort of your own home, office or anywhere that you can access the internet.

What Is a Bankruptcy Credit Counseling Class?

There are no assignments and no right or wrong answers in bankruptcy credit counseling. There are no quizzes and you are not tested on any of the material.  It’s more of an educational lecture that tells you how to better manage your credit debt because the federal government felt that it was important for all people filing bankruptcy to be better informed about credit and debt management.


While the class is a very simple process to complete, the requirement should be taken seriously.  It is an absolute requirement, absent exceptional cases.  Completing your 1 hour credit counseling course on the internet is a prerequisite to being able to file for bankruptcy protection.  You must complete the course within the 180 day period before the date of your bankruptcy filing and your certificate expires after 180 days from the date you took the class. 


There are exceptions to the credit counseling class requirement, but the exceptions are so rare that you might as well consider the requirement an absolute requirement unless your lawyer tells you otherwise.  The rare exceptions include where the person filing bankruptcy: (1) is in the military in an active combat zone, (2) has a mental illness or disability that makes them incapable of making rational decisions with respect to financial responsibilities, or (3) is so physically impaired that they cannot participate in bankruptcy credit counseling, whether on the internet or by phone or in person.


So when you’re in your bankruptcy consultation and your bankruptcy lawyer mentions that you need to complete a credit counseling class, you’ll know it doesn’t mean going back to school, or taking pop quizzes, or doing any of those things that many people don’t like about school. 

The credit counseling course providers have actually made the process very streamlined and simple for you.  When you complete the course, most providers let you enter an email address where you would like your certificate of completion to be email to.  You can have your certificate instantaneously emailed to you and then forward the email to your lawyer so your lawyer will have the certificate.

It’s best to complete your bankruptcy credit counseling class the first opportunity that you have in order to avoid any possible delays with filing your bankruptcy, since you cannot file bankruptcy until you have completed your course.  Just go on the internet, select an online course provider from the list of government approved providers, spend an hour reading through the informative material, and then have your certificate emailed to you. 


If you live in San Diego, California, make sure to complete your bankruptcy credit counseling class for the Southern District of California, which is the bankruptcy district that covers all of San Diego County, CA.


When you take your credit counseling class, don't look at it as a burden.  It’s just one hour of your life and it can be a valuable opportunity to learn something new about credit and debt management.  Many of our clients find that reading through the informative material on the online credit counseling course to be an enjoyable learning experience. Hopefully, you'll find the experience a positive one too.