Debtors need to remember that in order to receive their discharge they are obligated to take two courses. One course taken before filing is the famous credit counseling requirement. Before your case can be filed, you must certify to the Court that you’ve taken a course in credit counseling from an “approved agency” in the last 180 days. Envisioned as a deterrent to filing bankruptcy by the creators of BACPA, mandatory credit counseling is now nothing more than another bureaucratic hoop to jump through on the way to financial relief.
With credit counseling out of the way (never heard a single story of a potential debtor who decided not to file as a result of a credit counseling course), the deadline to take the financial management course fast approaches. After your first meeting of creditors or 341 meeting, you must take the financial management course and have your attorney file the corresponding certificate with the Court within 45 days. Failure to meet this requirement can result in your bankruptcy case being closed without a discharge. In the event you miss the deadline, your attorney will normally be able to motion to have your case re-opened, however, it is best to do things right the first time around as you’ll have to pay extra fees to re-open your case. If for some reason your motion to re-open is denied, it may be necessary to re-file and take another ride through the system from the beginning. Envisioning some kind of bankruptcy class room? Sorry to disappoint but both credit counseling and financial management courses can usually be completed online. If you have questions, contact an attorney.