What You Need to Know About Consumer Credit Counseling and Debtor Education in Your Georgia Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Georgia residents who file for a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 consumer bankruptcy must complete a credit counseling course before they file bankruptcy and a financial management course after they file bankruptcy. The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 requires bankruptcy filers to get credit counseling from a government-approved organization within 180 days prior to filing. You will be required to show a certificate proving that this counseling has been completed at the time of filing. After filing debtors are required to complete a debtor education course before their debts are discharged.

What to Expect in Your Pre-Filing Session

Your pre-filing consumer credit counseling session will last 60-90 minutes and should address the following issues: (1) an evaluation of your financial situation; (2) what options you may have other than filing bankruptcy; (3) your family’s budget. Bankruptcy filers can expect to pay around $50 for this service, although you may be able to waive the fee in the case of extreme hardship. Counseling is offered by phone, online or in person. At our practice, clients usually chose online counseling due to its convenience.

What to Expect in Your Post-Filing Debtor Education

Your post-filing/pre-discharge debtor education course will offer information on budgeting, money management and how to use your credit responsibly. Expect to pay between $50-$100 dollars. As with pre-filing counseling you can complete your program online, by phone or in person and you will receive a certificate upon completing the program.

Who do I call?

A list of approved debtor education providers is available at www.usdoj.gov/ust/bapcpa/ccde/de_approved.htm. Please be careful and choose a provider that is approved in the judicial district where you are filling for bankruptcy. Your attorney can confirm that you have chosen an appropriate provider and offer suggestions about which provider to chose.

Pre-filing consumer credit counseling and post-filing/pre-discharge debtor education is an important part of the bankruptcy process that debtors are REQUIRED to complete in a timely manner. Failure to do this can negatively impact your bankruptcy case and the protections that bankruptcy can provide.

If you are considering bankruptcy it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. For a free initial consultation please contact the Law Offices of Charles Clapp at 404.585.0040.