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What are the education requirements when filing for bankruptcy?

People who are considering a bankruptcy filing might be rather shocked to learn that there are very specific requirements for education associated with the filing. You can't just decide today that you need protection and then waltz into the courthouse tomorrow to file. Instead, you have to go through a pre-bankruptcy credit counseling course within the six months prior to you filing. Another education requirement is that you have to have a pre-discharge debtor education course before your bankruptcy can be discharged. There are stark differences between these courses, as well as requirements for both, that might interest our Pennsylvania readers.

What is pre-bankruptcy credit counseling?

Pre-bankruptcy credit counseling is a one-on-one session that you will have with someone at an approved credit counseling organization. During the session, which can take place over the phone, in person or online, you will discuss your personal financial situation. You will also create a budget plan and discuss alternatives to bankruptcy. You will then be provided with a certificate to file with your bankruptcy.

What is pre-discharge debtor education?

The pre-discharge debtor education course covers some basic financial principles. As is the case with the pre-bankruptcy credit counseling, this course can take place over the phone, online or in person. It usually lasts around two hours. You will get information on money management, budget creation and usage of credit. You can't do this at the same time as the pre-bankruptcy credit counseling. The pre-discharge debtor education course has to be completed after you file, but before your debt is discharged.

Following the applicable laws and guidelines are vital for anyone who is filing for bankruptcy. For that reason, understanding the process is necessary before filing.

Source: Federal Trade Commission, "Filing for Bankruptcy: What to Know" accessed Feb. 12, 2015

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